There are few condiments as tantalizing as mustard. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like it for that matter. Smother gourmet mustard on a brat with sauerkraut, slathered on pastrami and rye, incorporated into a sauce and drizzled on asparagus … its tangy flavor makes your nose tingle and taste buds want more.
Combine this innate human need for mustard with our love for French food and you can understand why we were so excited to visit the home of one of the world’s great mustard traditions in the fabled wine and gastronomy region of Burgundy, France. The address: La Moutarderie Edmond Fallot, in the town of Beaune. The charming Fallot Mustard factory is just a stone’s throw from the Hospices de Beaune where aficionados, collectors, and wine geeks from around the globe gather annually in November for the famous wine auction and festival.
I first got to know Marc Désarménien nearly 20 years ago at the International Fancy Food Show in New York. Ever since, we’ve carried his family’s mustard, and I’ve always been a huge fan. Marc’s grandfather, Edmond Fallot, bought this mustard factory in 1928, which had been established since 1840. I asked Marc if he came from a long line of Burgundians, and he quipped non with his definitive French accent.
He shared that Edmond grew up in an unremarkable town in the east part of France, but loved good food as a young man, so moved to Beaune for the simple reason that he wanted to eat well—my kind of guy!
Edmond moved to Beaune and began to work in the town’s little mustard factory in the 1920s. He eventually took over the business, made it his own, and prospered. Edmond’s son-in-law Roger took the reins right after WWII and Edmond’s grandson Marc has headed up the firm since 1994.
As we toured his sparkling clean factory and tasted some extraordinary mustard, Marc and his colleague Caroline explained some amazing facts about mustard. While Dijon is capital of France’s famous Burgundy region and the namesake of the famous mustard, “Dijon mustard” today simply refers to a recipe. Interestingly, most of the world’s mustard seeds come from Canada and the U.S.
Dijon mustard indeed was created in the city bearing its name. Legend has it that Jean Naigeon replaced the usual ingredient of vinegar in the recipe with verjuice, the acidic juice of unripe grapes, which was a plentiful and inexpensive (at the time) leftover from the wine harvest. The use of verjuice gave the mustard a better flavor. Although verjuice is ideal as a liquid base for mustard, many Dijon mustards today, however, are made with inexpensive vinegar.
With a nod to tradition, Marc is resurrecting the glory days of Burgundian mustard by using French grown mustard seeds and white wine from Burgundy in his Burgundy Mustard IGP (IGP translates as Protected Geographical Indication). This is the single most balanced and pleasurable taste of mustard I’ve ever had!
Speaking of taste, the varieties of Fallot mustard will never leave you wanting. At the tasting room, you’ll see a wall covered with photos of many of France’s great chefs, both upcoming and famous. Mark has collaborated with many of them to create pairings and flavors of his mustards.
We have chosen several including my favorites the Burgundy IGP, Tarragon, and Blackcurrant. My wife, who is a great cook, also loves the Walnut and standard Dijon. She incorporates these mustards in vinaigrettes, sauces, and other ways several times a week … and I’m a happy consumer of these sublime flavors! For good eating at home these cold winter months, make Edmond Fallot Mustards a regular feature at your table.
Try our Chicken Fricassee recipe featuring Edmond Fallot Tarrgon Dijon Mustard!