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  • Umami synergy as the scientific principle behind taste-pairing champagne and oysters.

Umami synergy as the scientific principle behind taste-pairing champagne and oysters.

Scientific reports (2020-11-20)
Charlotte Vinther Schmidt, Karsten Olsen, Ole G Mouritsen
ABSTRACT

Food and flavour pairing are commonly used as an empirically based phenomenology by chefs and food innovators for creating delicious dishes. However, there is little if any science behind the pairing systems used, and it appears that pairing is determined by food culture and tradition rather than by chemical food composition. In contrast, the pairing implied by the synergy in the umami taste, elicited by free glutamate and free nucleotides, is scientifically founded on an allosteric action at the umami receptor, rendering eggs-bacon and cheese-ham delicious companions. Based on measurement of umami compounds in champagnes and oysters we suggest that a reason why champagne and oysters are considered good companions may be the presence of free glutamate in champagne, and free glutamate and 5'-nucleotides in oysters. By calculations of the effective umami potential we reveal which combinations of oysters and champagnes lead to the strongest umami taste. We also show that glutamate levels and total amount of free amino acids are higher in aged champagnes with long yeast contact, and that the European oyster (Ostrea edulis) has higher free glutamate and nucleotide content than the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and is thus a better candidate to elicit synergistic umami taste.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Uridine 5′-monophosphate, ≥98%
Sigma-Aldrich
Uridine 5′-monophosphate disodium salt, ≥99%