The flavor of black truffle, besides being unmistakable, is incomparable. You can’t categorize it as sweet or salty, nor as bitter or acidic. You could describe it as a taste closely linked to the earth, with many nuances, but you couldn’t say much more. Well, for over 100 years, there have been specialists pointing to the emergence of a new flavor: ‘umami.’ It means “essence of delight” in Japanese. As explained in an article from the scientific journal The Journal of Nutrition, it is present in foods with ajinomoto or monosodium glutamate. As well as in food additives, such as disodium inosinate or disodium guanylate. In other words, black truffle is indeed umami due to its high glutamate content.
Within this new flavor – discovered over a decade ago by Japanese scientists – is where we can find black truffle for its singularity and intensity. This could explain the powerful taste that lasts longer than in other foods and spreads throughout the tongue. Likewise, it creates a velvety sensation, stimulating mainly the back of the mouth. Along with other foods such as aged cheeses (Parmesan), ripe tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms like champignons or shiitake, salmon, or green tea, black truffle finds its place.
History of umami and its benefits
Umami was identified in the early 1900s by a scientist at the Imperial University of Tokyo. In 2002, science demonstrated that taste buds identified umami, and we could taste it all along, although not knowing how to name it. Through research, it has been discovered that umami in black truffle promotes salivation and helps reduce salt consumption since its main component, monosodium glutamate, has 2/3 less sodium than salt. In this way, when we incorporate ingredients or products that taste like umami, it is possible to reduce the bitter taste of some foods or enhance the sweetness of others.