PUBLISHED IN HEMISPHERES – 2009
A Seasoned History – When you dip into Dijon, you’re spreading a 700-year tradition.
FAME FOR THE PUNGENT CONDIMENT MUSTARD CAME IN THE 14TH CENTURY AFTER the Dukes of Burgundy threw a feast where revelers consumed 66 gallons of Dijon’s early version. The recipe perfected, this royal treat (Louis XI carried a crock) was decreed the Mustard of Dijon in 1390, becoming widely available. Maille (above) opened the first mustard boutique in Paris in 1747 and another 100 years later in Burgundy’s Dijon. Today, both serve three fresh and 52 packaged varieties. Originally, mustard crocks were filled at the stores. In the 1930s, Amora began offering mustard in a jar, thrilling thrifty French housewives with a reusable container. Postwar economics ceased the cultivation of mustard seed in Burgundy. Although nearly all mustard is still made there, 95 percent of the seed used is imported. Another blow to Dijon’s reputation came in 1981, when Grey Poupon was sold to a U.S. company, no longer to be made in France. Yet, this lively mustard is still a matter of French pride.
Pass the Poupon: Sales spiked an unprecedented 50-plus percent when Grey Poupon was marketed in the U.S.
Dijon has become the global generic for spicy mustard, but now pure Dijon must have Burgundy ties. Fallot, the last family-owned moutarderie, worked with Amora and Européenne de Condiments to form the Burgundy Mustard Association, official this year. The recipe and seeds must come from Burgundy, and 13 percent of the vinegar or wine, from Burgundy grapes. Fallot exports mustard that meets these standards. This resurgence of Burgundy mustard seed returns well-deserved honor to this centuries-old condiment. —Debra Amundson
Cutting the Mustard
La Moutarderie Fallot / For more on the history and the process of mustard making, take an interactive tour at La Moutarderie Fallot, housed in its original 1840s factory. The only mustard museum in Burgundy, Fallot will have you making your own mustard to bring home. Open end of March through end of November. Tours depart Monday through Saturday at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. 31 Faubourg Bretonnière, Beaune; Tel: 33-3-80-22-0-02 or fallot.com Mustard Shops
Maille Mustard Boutique—Paris Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.–7 p.m. 6, place de la Madeleine, Paris; Tel: 33-1-40-15-06- 00 or maille.com Maille Mustard Boutique—Dijon Open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.–7 p.m. 32, rue de la Liberté, Dijon; Tel: 33-3-80-30-41- 02 or maille.com
Getting to Dijon Travelers can reach Dijon from Paris in about two hours via the TGV train; stay on for 20 minutes more and you’re
in the Côte-d’Or’s medieval Beaune.