Since my first saké matching experience, I’ve been on a mission to taste umami. I’m already challenging my palette to master more flavours. Is this gustative suicide ?

Japanese cuisine includes 5 taste principles : bitterness, acidity, salty, sweet and umami. Umami is a rather difficult concept to wrap my taste buds around. It is translated as a delicious taste « uma » (delicious) and « mi » (taste). Yet, as with many Japanese translations, the true essence of the word isn’t properly captured. Moreover, the scientific world isn’t able to come to a consensus on whether this 5th taste exists. But an entire nation claims to experience it, and I feel left out. I don’t see why I can’t either.

Koikawa Junmai Saké | Brasserie Koikawa

The other day I had a new saké tasting with Gael at Shinkame. This time we tasted two bottles of the same saké, one recently opened and another opened 2 months ago. I found it easier to focus on characteristics of the same product.

The saké was matched with a bitter chocolate. I took a sip of saké, a small bite of chocolate and a second sip of saké to mix the tastes.

A mild revelation occurred « en fin bouche. » I found an extremely pleasant acid taste. Round and generous without the gripped teeth aspect. I appreciate acid and citrus savours, but I never experienced an acid that doesn’t rise to the lips. This was silky, rather comforting. Unfamiliar.

Douce et peu salée, la sauce soja Kinari Koikuchi se révèle longue en bouche, de saveur noble et d’un goût presque boisé

A few days later, I was experimenting with a matured soy sauce. I drizzled the soy sauce over a creamy mozzarella di bufala, sprinkled a few noisettes on top, and took a bite. My tastes buds cried out in song (opera, of course). A luxurious creamy sensation swooned over my tongue. The soy sauce added a roasted, caramelized effect to the ensemble, like a dessert. The most passionately delicious taste I had ever experienced.

Was that umami ?

« Please sir, can I have another ? »

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