Known as the fifth taste, umami is that savoriness your taste buds experience from foods like parmesan, cooked or cured meat, mushrooms or fermented foods. It is more pronounced in foods that have been cooked over a long period of time like a stew or dashi (Japanese cooking broth). Umami was only named about 100 years ago, but can have important health benefits. It helps with the production of saliva which in turn can help people become more in touch with their appetite + overall health.
The umami taste comes from glutamate + ribonucleotides which naturally occur in many foods.
When the two flavors combine they magnify each other to create something of a flavor explosion, think 1 + 1 = 8. That is why our 5 cheese stuffed mushrooms are addictive or why a cheeseburger with ketchup + cheese is a classic combination.