When we visited a moutarderie in Dijon in 1996, I was amazed to discover that the mustard seeds used were grown in Canada! We decided not to buy mustard to take home as a souvenir….
On one of our bicycle holidays in France in the last century, we blundered into the town of Charroux, only to discover truly spectacular mustard there.
If you get happen to be in the Vichy area, the Charroux Moutarderie is well worth the visit. Make sure to sample some of the mustards and in spite of the high prices, buy at least one jar. You won’t be sorry!
But. Almost equally brilliant is home-made mustard.
Not long before that wonderful bicycle holiday in France in 1998, we went to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto and tasted the best mustard we’d had in a long time. The woman at the stand had made it and was handing out recipes. We learned from her that prepared mustard has a shelf life and tastes much better if it is freshly made.
She was right!! Do make some mustard today. Like us, you too will never buy Grey Poupon or Maille mustard again.
We get brown mustard seeds in India Town (Kohinoor Foods on Gerrard) and Asian yellow mustard seeds at Kozlik’s Mustard in St. Lawrence Market. Both the brown and Asian yellow mustard seeds are hotter (and more flavourful) than the bright yellow seeds that are used for making Ballpark mustard.
- recipes from OUR kitchen
» grainy mustard
» green beans with mustard
» pasta with asparagus, toasted pinenuts, caramelized onion, grainy mustard and goat cheese
» stuffed mushrooms
» salads: endive salad with warmed goat cheese; Chicken Salad with Grapes and Toasted Almonds; salad with pears and pinenuts; Salad with Warm Dressing; (salad dressings containing grainy mustard)
» salad dressing: salad dressing with raspberry vinaigrette
Excerpt from my voluminous travel diary:
me, my voluminous travel diary, France bicycle trip 1998
I’m quite surprised that I didn’t write more about our experience at the Charroux mustardery. We spent at least an hour there, wandering through to gaze at the ancient machinery and grindstone, then standing in our slightly shabby bicycling gear next to elegantly and expensively dressed tourists (I recall seeing one slightly sneering man wearing very very beautiful fine leather shoes clearly made by an exclusive designer) in the little shop, to sample a variety of truly spectacular mustards. We would have bought a jar of each one if we hadn’t been travelling on bicycles with pretty much zero space for any extra luggage.
After a lot of deliberation, we chose to buy a jar of the “traditional” flavour, even though several of the others were equally fabulous.
The “moutarde de Charroux” is unique, and was created 900 years ago by monks from the Bourbonnais in the Auvergne region […] considered by the gastronomical press as the best in the world. It is processed traditionally by a single family, following the ancestral recipe of French “Moutarde”. A century old grindstone crushes the entire mustard seed (shell included), which gives the incredible texture of the Charroux mustard. The confidential “verjus” made of wine, vinegar, spices and salt is later added. At the very end, the white wine of St. Pourçain (Tressalier grape), which has the prestigious AOC label, is added.
– Charroux Mustard: The Ultimate Hand-Made Mustard of France
Yes, indeed, that mustard really was brilliant!
I love that we can still read the best-before date (21 September 1999) and the ingredients list on the back of the jar!
Vinaigre de vin blanc
graines de moutard
vin de St-Pourçain
Hmmmm, maybe we should add vintage wine to the list of ingredients in our grainy mustard recipe.
Please read more about Charroux: Tourism » France » Auverge » Allier » Charroux Mustard