Why your brain can taste
Onno Stienen of ONOFF SPICES often uses fermented ingredients. Rene Redzepi (chef/owner of restaurant Noma) states: "By working with fermented ingredients you get a lot more umami in your dishes". According to some researchers, there is a sixth taste: fat.
But there is much more when it comes to taste. When tasting, the perception of the structure (crispy or limp, tender or tough), the temperature and the spiciness of the food also play an important role.
In his book "How the brain constructs taste", neuro biologist Gordon Shepherd shows how your brain creates a complex taste image based on countless impressions. It starts with a memory of the food that activates the salivary glands. As you bring the food to your mouth, you see the colors, the shapes and smell the smells. Then the chewing, the sound and the feeling in the mouth give even more information.
The taste buds (receptors) on your tongue perceive the primary flavours and as you chew and swallow, volatiles are released into your nasal cavity. Finally, your brain combines all sensory information into a taste experience. "We think taste comes from the mouth, but most of it comes (...) from smells, which are recognized by receptors in the nose. This is how we build up a 'memory' in the brain for later taste experiences."