Umami – love that word! So guttural and earthy. For me, it conjures up images of people dancing around a fire in the jungle. But the fact is, umami is simply a very savoury taste. Pronounced oo-MA-mee, it is derived from the Japanese words ‘umai’, meaning ‘delicious’, and ‘mi’, meaning ‘essence’. Asians have talked about umami for centuries, but it’s only recently that science has proven that the brain experiences umami as a unique taste, just like it does sweet, salty, sour and bitter. And while many ingredients have umami, fresh mushrooms stand alone as the king of umami! They not only deliver plenty of umami on their own, they actually intensify the umami of other ingredients. This means that by adding mushrooms to just about any savoury dish, everything else in the dish will taste better. Talk about loading up on magic mushrooms! (Look out for more on umami next time.)