Mustard–Who Knew?

 One of the things that first amazed me about France, along with the cheese and the wine, was their mustard. Even the cheap stuff in the grocery stores tastes different than what I used to get in the States. The French add more horse radish to their mustard and it can really clear your sinuses and bring tears to your eyes if you get too much on your sandwich. I was also surprised that just about every area of France has their own mustard. It became a fun thing for me to do, to search out every village or area we visited to see if they had a locally made mustard.

 Mustard, it turns out, has a very interesting history. It was considered medicinal to start with. Then it became a beauty product. Many mustards started in areas by a river as they used a stone water wheel to grind the mustard seeds into the paste used, mixed with vinegar, into mustard.

 There is actually a mustard boutique shop in Paris called Maille Mustard. You can buy Maille mustard in the States but it won’t taste the same, plus you won’t find the many flavors available in this little store. (There is also one in Dijon).


 Here is a photo of the front of the store looking very elegant, in the French way, for a place selling condiments. They sell their own line of vinegar and spices here as well.


This little display was in the window. It’s a mustard with peppers and chilies.


 One of their new mustards made with curry and apricot.


Aren’t these cute? The store actually decants mustard made with white wine, into these little containers. Then the cork tops are forced tightly into the little jars for taking home. I have a funny story about these containers. I had some clients with me that I had taken into the store. They bought one of these but couldn’t wait to get home to try it but had some spread on bread with ham for an impromptu picnic. They put the cork back in and put it in their carryon for the trip home. A few hours into the trip the man sitting in front of them said, “What is that smell?” The cork hadn’t been replaced tightly enough and the mustard was dripping out of their carryon, through the overhead bin and onto the man’s shoulder. The plane smelled like mustard the entire 8 hour trip home. At least it wasn’t the mustard containing cassis which is a hot pink color. I always think of these people when I go in the Maille Mustard Boutique.





7 thoughts to “Mustard–Who Knew?”

  1. excellent post. I assure you that this is not more than I wanted to know about mustard because I am retired and now my life is all about learning. My first contact with mustard was medicinal — my mother satistically placed mustard plasters on my check when I had a cough, they gave me 1st degree burns which she supposed would heal. Still, I like mustard and ketchup in my baked beans.

  2. Really lovely photos, Linda.
    Curry and apricot mustard. I must get me one of those. I guess I’m more likely to find it in a fine foods shop.

  3. As always, Linda, your photos are wonderful. And, oh, how I wish I could get real French mustard here – that actually tastes like it does in France. I don\’t really understand why we can\’t??? I absolutely love the mustard there.

  4. I think the reason we don’t get the strong Dijon mustard in the U.S. is that the marketing people don’t think Americans would like it. There’s no way to explain it otherwise. So the send us a milder mustard.

    By the way, classic Dijon mustard doesn’t have horseradish in it. It’s just the mustard that is hot. If you bring the mustard at a high temperature, or just let it age for a while, it become milder.

    Nice post, Linda.

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