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Mrs Kumiko Ninomiya - "Umami around the world"
Director Umami Information Center
Tokyo, Japan & London UK

Although umami was only identified at the beginning of the 20th Century and it has only recently been acknowledged as a unique taste different to the four established tastes – sweet, sour, salty and bitter, it has been a part of the taste of food for centuries. In Ancient Rome, at a time when salt and sugar were generally not available, a fermented fish sauce called garum was used as seasoning. Garum combined umami and saltiness. The closest modern equivalent of garum is anchovy sauce. In Asian cultures, the umami taste has generally been provided by fermented sauces like soy sauce and fish sauce. Western cultures also have fermented foods like cheeses and ham. Tomatoes, introduced to Europe by Columbus, are now used universally. Tomatoes are the essence of umami.
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