Dijon Mustard: A French Condiment With Ancient Roman Roots

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Dijon mustard was named for the city where it was first made: Dijon in Burgundy, France. Mustard in France began with the Ancient Romans who grew mustard plants in French vineyards. The Romans made a condiment with the seeds by soaking them in vinegar and then grinding them.

The production methods of Dijon mustard have been regulated since the 14th century. The early regulations stated that it had to be made from mustard seed and wine that had been aged for no less than 12 days. Traditional Dijon mustard was made with black mustard seeds that are soaked in water then blended with vinegar before being ground to a smooth paste.

The city of Dijon became a center of French mustard production in the 1500s and Dijon mustard developed a reputation for consistently high quality. The condiment became popular throughout France.

In the 19th century, Jean Naigeon changed the flavor profile by using verjuice instead of vinegar. Verjuice is the juice from unripe grapes. The result was a flavor profile similar to that of modern Dijon mustard even though most Dijon mustard is still made with vinegar. The verjuice version was less tart and harsh than the vinegar-based version.

Dijon mustard

In 1777 a mustard maker named Maurice Grey tamed up with Auguste Poupon to form the Grey Poupon mustard company. They would eventually merge with a competitor called Maille. Grey invented a machine that automated the mustard-making process and set the company apart from its competition.

These days, mustard doesn’t have to be made in Dijon to be considered Dijon mustard; in fact, Dion’s last mustard factory closed in 2008. Dijon mustard may be made anywhere, as long as the Dijon mustard recipe is used.

Dijon mustard flavor profile

Dijon mustard ‘s flavor profile can differ depending on who is making it and the ingredients in their recipe. Generally speaking, its flavor profile is sharp and spicy. Its texture is best described as creamy. Dijon mustard has a more complex flavor when compared to other types of mustard such as yellow mustard. Some commercial blends have a lower level of acidity to allow the flavor of the mustard seeds to come to the forefront.

Health benefits of Dijon mustard

Dijon mustard is not a great source of vitamins and minerals, but it does still contain some compounds that are beneficial for health. Those include:

  • Isothiocyanates: Formed from glucosinolates, isothiocyanates are a compound found in mustard and other members of the Brassica family. Isothiocyanates have major benefits for preventing serious diseases.
  • Sinigrin: Sinigrin is a glucosinolate found in mustard seeds that also has powerful health benefits.

Dijon mustard in your diet can help to treat or prevent health issues like:

  • Cancer: The isothiocyanates in Dijon mustard have anti-carcinogenic properties. Not only do they help prevent the growth of cancers, they also help to prevent the formation of the cells in the first place.
  • Inflammation: The sinigrin in mustard can help to fight inflammation.
  • Foodborne illness: Isothiocyanates have powerful antibacterial properties. They can help to protect you from bacteria in food that can make you sick including E. coli.

Common uses

Dijon mustard can be used as a condiment for various savory dishes, you can use it just as you would use yellow mustard. It makes a great addition to hotdogs and other sandwiches. In French cooking, Dijon mustard is used as an ingredient in sauces. It is commonly used to give a tangy flavor to salad dressings.