Sweet. Sour. Bitter Salty. Chances are you find it easy to identify four of the five tastes that the human tongue can process. But what, exactly, are the characteristics of the fifth? How do we describe the elusive umami?
This savory, rich, earthy flavor is found all around us, in a variety of foods. While especially prevalent in Japanese cuisine - seaweed, soy sauce, broths - it's also unveiled in heirloom tomatoes, parmesan cheese, truffles, and asparagus. This "pleasant savory taste" as translated from Japanese, is the subtle sensation that's hard to characterize but impossible to ignore.