The Japanese define taste again

Now that umami, the indescribable flavor associated with yumminess in foods like soy sauce and cheese, has been declared the fifth taste, chefs are moving on to
kokumi, a taste that is often described as richness or "mothfulness."

Kokumi is a non-tasting food or flavoring that, when combined with other foods, enhances "sweet, salty, and umami tastes" according to Japanese researchers at Ajinomoto, a Japanese seasonings and food product company, that published their findings in the November 2009 and January 2010 editions of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

It seems as though kokumi could be best described as a sensation, as the authors of the study explain your tongue has calcium receptors that sense kokumi and boost your other taste perceptions.

According to the South China Morning Post news outlet, "Givaudan flavourists, food flavour scientists and in-house chefs were in Hong Kong this month for the company's biennial Chefs' Council, held at the Hospitality Industry Training and Development Centre in Pok Fu Lam."

Givaudan, the Swiss maker of food flavorings and fragrances worldwide, brought together world-renowned chefs including:

- Jordi Roca, a pastry chef, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain (Three Michelin stars and number 4 on S. Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurants 2010 list)
- Alex Atala, D.O.M. in Sao Paulo, Brazil (number 18 on S. Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurants 2010 list)
- Paul Virant, Vie in Chicago, USA
- Alvin Leung, Bo Innovation in Wan Chai, Hong Kong (a Michelin star and number 19 on Asia's Top 20 from The Miele Guide 2010/2011)

The company explained on its site that the event is designed to facilitate "collaborat[ing] and shar[ing] knowledge with Givaudan's own chefs - to inspire forward-thinking ideas, profile targets and customer concepts for ... Kokumi."

They continue to explain that kokumi can be created by "slow cooking stocks from bone or meat and stews, ... curing and drying, ...roasting, searing, confit and braising."

The blog Food & Think of the online magazine Smithsonian.com highlights that "calcium, protamine (found in milt, or fish sperm, which is eaten in Japan and Russia), L-histidine (an amino acid) and glutathione (found in yeast extract)" are all flavorless food compounds that can be described as kokumi.

Full study, "Involvement of the Calcium-sensing Receptor in Human Taste Perception": http://www.jbc.org/content/285/2/1016.abstract

 

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

    £25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-Qualified Accountant) - Manchester

    £23000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor