Mustard is a big deal here in Dijon. I met a women today who makes mustard every day, showing tourists and locals how to combine the seeds, some salt, and verjus, the juice of green grapes to make the perfect blend. At La Cuisine de Madeleine, Valerie Grandet showed us how to do it using wooden mortar and pestles. While we furiously ground the seeds, turning them brown to yellow, she told us all about this fabulous condiment and about the most legendary name in local mustard. And no, it’s not Meaux.
It’s Edward Fallott, the company that has been making mustard a la Dijon in the nearby town of Beaune since 1840. Like gun powder and many other great things, mustard got its start in China. In the 1600s, it migrated to France and The Dukes of Burgundy used to down a spoonful to ward off indigestion. It was in the towns in which monks made wine that mustard got its start. They combined the wine with the seeds, and at one time it was a huge crop. Then it began to slowly disappear. Only about four years ago, Valerie told us, did the growing of local mustard seeds, which are brown, not yellow like the ones grown elsewhere, begin to reappear in farmer’s fields..
The big kahuna of mustard is Canada…where about 80 percent of the world’s mustard seeds come from. It takes quite a bit of grinding to get that nice yellow color, and at Fallott, they use stone grinders, which keep the temperature nice and even. This is a town of mustard lovers. We visited the famous Dijon shop called Moutarde Maile and I picked up some old style super-seedy variety. But the velvety smoothness of the kind made by Fallott is another great choice.
After we finished grinding, Valerie brought forth some wine, and some charcuterie and bread for us to slather our home-made mustard on. I opted for Fallott’s which was much better than mine. I was the only one drinking the white, which I have noticed happens often in France. Just like at my house! You can make mustard too, find Valerie at www.lacuisinedemadeleine.fr, she’s at 18 rue Chauddonenerie in Dijon.