The burning must: the centuries-old history of Dijon mustard

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There Dijon mustard – commonly called mustard - it's a typical sauce of the French gastronomic tradition used for the creation of various types of meat dishes, to accompany cheeses during tasting or added to other typical sauces such as remoulade And Vinaigrette. It is a product from pungent and lively flavour which exists in different variations depending on the species of mustard used but whose taste never leaves you indifferent. The name of this derives from the word mustus ardens or mout ardent that is to say burning must to indicate its strong and spicy flavor resulting from the combination of grape must with mustard seeds.

Dijon mustard can boast very ancient origins. Mustard seeds were introduced to France by ancient Romans who usually used them to preserve food and consumed them by mixing them with vinegar, honey, nuts or spices to form a sort of paste. The export of mustard to Gaul during the Roman Empire met with great success, so much so that over the years cultivations multiplied throughout the country. One of the most important was that of Parisian monks of Saint Germain De Pres who produced a sauce made with mustard seeds crushed together with honey, vinegar or grape must, which was also much appreciated by the Duke of Burgundy during his banquets.

The mustard production industry was centralized in Dijon as early as the 14th century, at the time of the Dukes of Burgundy. Here – considering the increasingly important consumption of this product – in 1550 the mustard producers' guild was founded. This allowed in 1634 to the city of Dijon to obtain exclusivity on the preparation and marketing of the sauce according to a precise composition and certain sales rules. From the 1937 Some laws on the designation of origin have been introduced to protect Dijon mustard from imitations and guarantee the authenticity of the product. Dijon still produces almost half of the world's mustard, so the tradition has remained alive and active.

There are various types of mustard prepared with the addition of different ingredients (mint, paprika, chili pepper, green pepper, red pepper, red fruits, garlic, etc.) which make the flavor more or less decisive and strong but Dijon mustard has its own particular recipe that must be respected to have a DOC product, universally recognized as authentic "burning must”. Dijon mustard is in fact the spiciest type of mustard. It is produced with brown mustard seeds mixed with vinegar, salt and citric acid but sometimes vinegar is replaced with the verjuice that is, grape juice that has not yet fermented. The Dijon area is the center of greatest production of French mustard consumed throughout the world but there are other large production areas in France such as Bordeaux for example: here a darker sauce is produced because it contains bran, aromatic herbs and spices and has a more bittersweet. Both Dijon and Bordeaux mustard were exported to England, another country where there is a large consumption of this type of sauce which gives a unique taste to various types of dishes.