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Umami, the fifth strong taste that the human palate is able to recognize (after sweet, salty, bitter and sour), may be a new discovery to the Western world, but is the newest passion for airlines who want to entice their fine diners at high altitudes. The aim, of course, is to recuperate the 30% of our taste buds that we “lose” while flying. To include the most flavourful of flavours, British Airways has put an emphasis on ingredients naturally dense with umami: mushrooms, Parmigiano cheese, tomatoes, cured meats.
Starting in June 2011, the British Airline has introduced an umami-based menu that includes dishes like English Asparagus with pea and broad bean dressing and poached hen’s egg; Iberico ham, chorizo and Cumbre de Trujillo cheese with tomato and olive dressing; duo of Loch Duart salmon and gilt head bream with marinated fennel and runner bean salad, mini ratatouille and Tuscan fire roasted pepper dressing; classic tuna nicoise; penne alla carbonara with wilted rocket and piquillo peppers; roasted mediterranean vegetables on toasted manoucher bread with feta cheese and coriander pesto.
Photo courtesy British Airways