Friday 14 January 2011

La Moutarde de Dijon

Recipe books often specify Dijon mustard in their list of ingredients. This iconic French product is made from vinegar, water, salt and mustard seeds, but mustard is hardly grown in France any more, much less in the Dijon area. The prepared mustard paste manufacturers of France source 90% of their mustard seed from Canada.

The reason for this seems to be that after the end of the Second World War, with the introduction of the Common Agricultural Policy, farmers found mustard was no longer profitable. The crop did not receive an EU subsidy, and so they switched to growing other things.



wcs said...

Il n'y a que Maille qui m'aille. ;)

Jean said...

I'm suprised they can still call it Dijon mustard if the mustard isn't grown in Dijon - considering all the fuss made in European circles about the naming and authenticity of some English products, such as Cadbury's chocolate which they said shouldn't be called chocolate, the content of sausages, etc.

Leon Sims said...

WCS - Huh???? Never did understand French but love the Mustard. Loved Dijon as a city.
Jean - I thought Cadburys was Tasmanian. Well we did have a base there.
Susan - sorry for takin over.
Leon, not Sue.

John said...

My son who is a prodigious consumer of French mustard, reports considerable variation in the quality of what is labelled as Dijon mustard. At Christmas He enthused about the superior quality of the particular pot of Maille brand we had brought back from France. Clearly we need to check on the varieties of Maille available both here and there. Trouble is that one rarely has more than one pot in the house to be able to make meaningful comparisons.

We are watching aghast at the coverage of the floods and feel for you both as you watch helplessly from a distance.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Problem is, there is no AOC (or AOP) for Dijon mustard, so it can be whatever anybody wants it to be. There's no restriction on using the name. I've never been a fan of Maille. Give me Amora any day, or one of the generic supermarket brands — Dia, SuperU, etc. Those are really hot and remind me of the mustard you get in the cafés in Paris with your steak-frites.

Il n'y a que Maille qui m'aille is a great example of the usefulness or the subjunctive in French. In English, "Only Maille will do" would be a good translation.

Susan said...

Ken: as you say - no AOC. I think it is because it is such a very old product.

I'm no great fan of mustard in general, so for me to buy Maille it must have been on special :-)

John: Friends are starting to emerge, all unscathed, although some have no electricity and, ironically, haven't had a shower for some days.

Jean: isn't the sausage thing an urban myth? And sorry, but most Cadbury's products are sugar with a few minor ingredients like cocoa waved at them.

Tim said...

Well said Susan... about the Cadbury's "Chocolate".... Bournville now contains less chocolate than the 'milk' chocolate from Lidl.
The J.D.Gross chocolate from Lidl is very good quality... and the boxes of 6 varieties from different countries is a very good way to find what good chocolate tastes like.
Or, Jean, you could join the Chocolate Tasting Club... part of the Hotel Chocolate group. A box, at intervals of your choice, with pairs of chocolates from well respected choclatiers and an assortment of tasting bars from different countries.

Pollygarter said...

I find that mustard loses its savour once it's been opened a little while, if it had any in the first place (I agree with Ken here!). Funny you see agricultural mustard flowering every autumn in fields all over France yet nobody grows mustard for seeds. It's a 'green manure' and helps improve soil quality after it's ploughed in.
Il n'y a que Maille qui m'aille is also an example of the great French love of puns!

Jean said...

Susan - ouch, that hurt !!
I love my Cadbury's chocolate and don't give a fig for how much cocoa there is in it, so long as I can carry on calling it chocolate !!

Next, you'll be telling me that baked beans aren't baked and custard creams have no custard in them - two more of my favourites !!

Ken Broadhurst said...

I think the yellow fields all over La Touraine are planted in colza (rape). One thing I read says that it is very difficult to distinguish rape from mustard by looking at it, but rape flowers in April-May and mustard flowers in September-October. I grow collard greens and they flower the same way but in autumn, not in spring. All these plants are cabbages and all the leaves are edible, I think -- some being tastier and tenderer than others.

Ken Broadhurst said...

I meant to say that I've never seen fields of yellow flowers around Saint-Aignan in autumn, just in spring. That's why I think colza/rape is planted here more than mustard.

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