We’re all familiar with the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” right? Well this year, I’m singing a different song, and it’s called the “Five flavors of Christmas!” (Six if you count Umami. 😋) Taste is one of your basic senses. It helps you evaluate food and drinks so you can determine what you like and even what’s safe to eat. Taste, like other senses, actually aided our ancestor’s survival by helping to identify spoiled foods or toxic substances. Of course, everyone is different, and we all have different likes and dislikes (aka different palates), so pleasing everyone can be difficult to achieve.
We have receptors for five kinds of tastes:
- Sweet – Generally, sweetness is caused by a form of sugar or alcohol. Certain amino acids may also taste sweet. Scientists think we evolved to like sweetness because it helps us recognize energy-dense foods. Often high in carbohydrates, like glucose, sweet foods provide our bodies with fuel. Our Blistered Jalapeno & Fig Spread has a subtle sweetness from the figs, and while the jalapenos bring a little spice, the sweet flavor still shines through.
- Sour – Sourness, or tartness, is the taste of acids. It’s thought we evolved to taste sourness to identify some types of harmful foods. But not all sour foods are dangerous. Our Saigon Street Sauce is a mustard-based sauce with a tangy Asian flair. It’s not sour, per se, but as far as taste buds go, you might experience some sour, yet tasty, notes.
- Salty – Sodium is essential for electrolyte and fluid balance. So it’s believed we can taste saltiness to make sure we get enough sodium. We sometimes crave something salty, and many of our sauces and spreads go great with salty crackers and other flavors that match up perfectly with other salty ingredients, bringing a desirable level of saltiness without being too much.
- Bitter – While “bitter” might not sound like a flavor we’d like, bitter flavors can add depth to a dish as long as it’s not overdone. We can typically tolerate bitterness at low amounts or when combined with other tastes. For example, the fennel in our Calabrian Pepper & Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread adds a slight bitterness that combines deliciously with sweet tomatoes and peppers.
- Savory – Occasionally, savory is also called “umami” or “meaty.” (Umami is the most recently discovered taste. It’s a Japanese term that loosely translates to “savory” or “meaty” in English.) Umami was accepted as a new taste when scientists found umami receptors in our taste buds. Bellisari’s Blue Cheese Honey & Shallot Spread combines tangy blue cheese with a touch of sweet honey and savory shallots. This complex flavor combination comes together to create a delicious savory spread that works well in recipes, in addition to just being a great spread to use with crackers, pretzels, or even smeared on a steak to add an extra-special touch.
Tastes, like people, can differ greatly, so while some may love the bitter taste of dark chocolate, others may only like sweeter milk chocolate or maybe don’t like chocolate at all! With such a variety of tastes, it may be difficult to decide which Bellisari’s Sauce or Spread to try. Lucky for you, we have a 4-pack sampler that lets you try four of our best sellers – Blistered Jalapeno & Fig Spread, Saigon Street Sauce, Blue Cheese Honey & Shallot Spread, and Calabrian Pepper & Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread. Whether you purchase the sampler for yourself or as a gift, it’s a great way to try Bellisari’s.
Serving suggestions and even beer or wine pairings are suggested on each jar of all our sauces or spreads, so you can try our suggestions or get creative and find your very own way to include our gourmet flavors into your culinary repertoire! Although our sense of taste may have evolved to help keep us from eating something harmful, it also lets us enjoy different foods and cuisines.
Don’t keep all the good stuff to yourself this holiday season! Turn someone on to Bellisari’s with any of our gift items (https://bellisaris.com/collections/gifts) like our 4 Pack Sampler for example. This year, why not give a very tasteful gift that also tastes great! Happy sampling and gift giving from all of us at Bellisari’s!