So far, the general theory held that humans can detect, with our sense of taste, five basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (Japanese term that means “delicious taste” which is found particularly on ham and red wine). However, it seems that according to recent studies, led by professor of psychology at the Oxford University, Charles Spence, there are many additional tastes that we can identify whether the above.
There is even talk of up to 20 tastes, including taste sensations such as grease or metal flavors, calcium, astringency or spicy, some of them already on the culinary tradition of some parts of the world, especially in the East. Professor Spence, who in addition to study the world of tastes in scientific terms, is also notable for its outreach and collaboration with leading chefs in the world, has also noted that colors, sounds and environment are other critical elements in how we perceive tastes.
In fact, there are people called super tasters that have up to 16 times more taste buds than ordinary mortals, and are able to clearly differentiate all these variants, thanks to a special sensitivity that makes them unique. These privileged people are not affected so heavily by external variables mentioned above (that determine other people unconsciously), so they become excellent food and beverage tasters. The strange thing is that super tasters usually have an aversion to bitter taste because of their hypersensitivity, so the taste of some wines with lots of tannins may become unbearable for them, as well as other foods or drinks with a strong bitter component.
Professor Spence collaborates regularly with leading gastronomy figures such as Heston Blumenthal from British restaurant “The Fat Duck” or Ferran Adrià, quintessential creator of culinary trends, with which has recently started a project in order to improve the quality and taste of hospital food.
Want to know 2 really tasty wines? Today we recommend:
La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 2001