Umami is the super-savoury fifth basic taste. It is both ubiquitous and elusive, present but often unrecognised, and it has the extraordinary ability to enhance individual flavours, transporting dishes to another level. It is the taste that keeps on giving long after salty, sweet, bitter, and sour flavours are spent. Umami is a Japanese word that translates as 'savoury deliciousness', but it is far from a Far Eastern concept. It is absolutely universal and does not belong to any single culture--it can be shared, enjoyed and appreciated by all those in possession of a tongue. Everyone has experienced it--the salted anchovy that melts into the tomato of a pizza, the irresistible marriage of pancetta and Parmesan in a creamy spaghetti carbonara, or the rich, caramelised chorizo in a pan-fried calamari and chorizo salad. Once understood, umami is your best friend both in and out of the kitchen. Umami-rich ingredients will add magic to any dish, and make great cooks out of all of us.