We’re still following Alex around France. Today he’s sharing about the region where he is living and learning – Dijon! (Yes! Like the mustard!)
by Alex Lopez
So there’s been a mustard shortage in France. However, in the heart of the mustard producing region, there are plenty of local producers keeping the supplies up for us Dijonnaise.
The reason we have a supply of mustard available to us in Bourgogne is thanks to local agriculture. The artisanal producers of historical Dijon grow their own plants in the Bourgogne countryside. Meanwhile, mass production French mustard is the result of seeds that come from Canada. Canadian seed production has been impacted by a poor harvest due to climate change.
Did you know that the mustard we consume in the United States is actually from a different species of mustard than that of Dijon?Brassica Juncea, or brown mustard, provides the pungency and depth of flavor that we associate with Dijon. Meanwhile, American mustard comes from the white mustard plant (sinapis alba).
Once you have seeds, those seeds need to be made into mustard. Seeds are ground using heavy mill stones. The ground seeds can then be mixed with a variety of liquids to create different base flavor profiles. A white wine, wine vinegar, or mixture of the two can be used to create a paste containing the residual seed pods. Grey Poupon, the mustard that breathed new life into Dijon, uses a variety of sieves to extract the leftover pods and create the paste that we know so well. In Dijon, however, mustard doesn’t stop with the creation of the product that we all know.
All The MUSTARD
Wandering through stores here in Dijon, you’ll see mustards you’d never even thought about. The most common is cassis, or blackcurrant, which is another common ingredient grown locally in Bourgogne. Other flavors I’ve seen include mushrooms, Madagascar Black Pepper, Curry, and roasted red pepper. It’s an incredible thing to explore.