Um-a-mi noun \ü-ˈmä-mē\
For centuries, scientists and gourmets in the Western world recognized four elements of taste — sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Then, in 1908, Tokyo Imperial University researcher Kikunae Ikeda identified a fifth element. He named it “umami,” a Japanese word loosely interpreted as “delicious” or “savory.” Because truffles contain three distinct umami substances — in the form of glutamate, inosinate, and guanylate — they rank among the world’s top culinary delicacies. Truffles are relished as much for their aroma as they are for their taste. And — because they’re very difficult to cultivate — they’re equally famous for commanding high prices.