Where: Dijon, Burgundy, France
Tastes: Burning hot with grape musks
Serving Suggestion: Works with beef, stimulating the digestive juices
Did you know: The french eat 50,000 tonnes of hot mustard every year
Dijon is the regional capital of the French province of Burgundy. This is the town where the Dukes of Burgundy had their residence in the fourteenth century. Mustard was already growing in popularity all over France and the Dukes ordered huge amounts of it to be bought to Dijon for their feasts. So, Dijon began making mustard itself and by the eighteenth century it had become the greatest mustard producing centre in France.
The first mustard recipe was written in AD 42, known as mustum ardens – burning juice. The Romans were the first to use the seeds to flavour and preserve food. Then in the Thirteenth Century the French introduced mustard seeds to farmers, however it was not until 1752 when Jean Naigeon replaced the vinegar by the must of the unripe grapes giving it more acidity and bite that Dijon secured it’s famed mustard position. Still to this day Dijon is the mustard capital of the world – there is even a Mustard Museum here and 90% of the mustard eaten in France is Dijon style.
Mustard was originally used as a form of preserving. It concealed the taste of meat that had been sitting around too long. These days the French consume 50,000 tones of the stuff every year. And in Dijon they like it hot.
Today mustard is the recognised condiment to accompany beef. Mustard stimulates your digestive juices and that is why it goes particularly well with a heavy dish such as beef.
Today, most mustard seeds are imported from Canada, the world’s biggest producer. Dijon Mustard gets its name from the actual process that makes the mustard rather than the location of where it is made.
Main Image: Marco Verch, Mustard Seeds, Flickr Creative Commons