Palate — it’s a catch-all term for each diner’s complex, unique means of interpreting flavors and textures.

On a broad scale, your palate can help you determine what’s savory from what’s sweet, but it’s also capable of much finer precision…with a bit of fine tuning. We’re talking about cultivating your palate, which can help you access and appreciate new flavors even in your favorite dish, making for an incredibly enjoyable dining experience.

It’s a process that takes time and a willingness to go where you’ve never gastronomically gone before. And the tips we’ve listed for you below will help you along the way.

Know The Basic Tastes

Before you can begin to develop your palate, you need to know the basics of tastes. There are five basic ones: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. It’s important to know how to tell the difference in these flavors. While sweet, salty, sour, and bitter flavors are easier to discern, umami, on the other hand, is a little harder. Umami is known for having a flavor profile that is savory. Foods like sautéed or grilled mushrooms and cheese are some great examples to describe umami. Our dishes at Vero Amore combine a host of these flavor profiles. Each time you take a bite, let the food sit in your mouth as you chew. Take a moment to discern the different flavors unfolding. Try and think of each fresh, organic ingredient that went into creating the experiences that taste buds are now having.

Spice Your Life Up!

We’re not just talking about trying new and exciting things! Just the basics: spices. Try and broaden your mouth to a host of new flavors by opening up the spice drawer. Without hurting yourself, experiment with new spices like paprika, onion powder, or cilantro, you’ll have a newfound respect for your favorite dishes – we guarantee it! Start small as you begin to experiment with new flavor profiles and ingredients. A simple marinara sauce can go perfectly with a pasta favorite like manicotti. Add a pinch of oregano, and then include some thyme or spinach the next time. Have fun with it!

Cleanse Your Palate

Whether you’re trying new foods, or indulging in timeless favorites, it’s a great idea to cleanse your palate between courses. Say that you just finished our Carpaccio: lightly tossed with greens, sautéed onions, and a hint of lemon juice atop grilled toast with extra virgin olive oil. Though it might have been excellent, you may still have a lingering aftertaste that could affect the next course if you are not careful. You need to neutralize your palate for the delights that are to come.

Here are some common tips to help you treat your taste buds and enjoy every last bite:

· Sample a lemon wedge

· Try some of our wood-fired bread

· Nibble on some sorbet or gelato between courses

· Enjoy a glass of room-temperature water

It’s Not The Grand Prix!

Eating is not a race … unless you’re Takeru Kobayashi of course! When your mother told you to slow down and chew your food as a child, she knew what she was talking about. When you eat slowly, you allow yourself to inhale deeply. As you draw in air for a longer period of time, you allow an influx of aromatic molecules to interact with olfactory receptors in your nose. These receptors in turn stimulate various centers of the brain for pleasure and taste.

In order to eat at a more leisurely pace, various nutritional experts recommend the following:

· Chew more than 30 times for each bite

· Enjoy your meal and be in the moment, allowing your meal to last 20 minutes

· Close your eyes and focus on the texture, aromas, and temperature of your dish

To fully enjoy the wide variety of foods that the world has to offer, you have to be able to taste them. There is a difference between enjoying a meal and having the ability to taste every ingredient or aroma that goes into making the dish. Learning how to train your palate is as simple as paying attention when you eat. But the most important ability when honing your taste buds is not just tasting the food, but also the ability to retain that taste in your taste memory and retrieve it.

Whether you’re cultivating your newfound palate with our elegant, fresh seafood dishes or the crisp, authentic taste of our Neapolitan Pizzas, Vero Amore has the right dish to make you expand your flavor profile.