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The secret of Umami: Unlocking the fifth taste.

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This week I received a little present from the Michelin starred chef, Ricard Camarena. Apparently he has spent the last few years developing a new product called “Letern” and he very kindly sent a nicely packaged bottle to all the Michelin starred chefs in Spain. Ricard Camarena has been using this anchovy essence for the last six years as a taste enhancer and as a substitute for salt in his stocks and broths, whether they contain fish, meat or vegetables. “Anchovy brine is my salt”, he states, “It’s the umami of the sea and has everything the sea contains: salt, iodine, oxide and the salting of fish over time”. I must admit that I liked it a lot and it has inspired me to make my own mix.

So what is umami and why are chefs obsessing over it?