The History of Pommery Mustard and Other Mustard Facts
Pommery mustard, also known as Moutarde de Meaux, is truly an historic gem in the culinary world. This cooking jewel comes from Meaux, France, and it is said that French kings have been dining on this mustard since the early 1600s. As gourmet mustards go, this particular blend is on the top of the list, both for its richness and its simplicity.
The recipe, of course, is a closely guarded family secret, but the taste and reputation of pommery mustard are well-known to anyone serious about delicious food and excellent cooking. In fact, many of the top chefs use this particular brand of mustard and simply will not settle for anything other mustard.
It is said that the secret recipe for pommery mustard originated with an ancient religious sect that lived in the town of Meaux, located just northeast of Paris. In the year 1760, the secret was revealed to the Pommery family, and they have kept it safe ever since. This rustic mustard is favored for the pure simplicity of its ingredients, which include mustard bran, mustard seed, spices, vinegar and water. Vinegar, they say, is what makes this particular mustard stand out from its Dijon relatives.
To go along with its ancient history, this mustard is sold in stoneware crocks that have been sealed with an old-fashioned wax seal the way its was done in centuries past. This is one serious mustard, even if for its history alone. But, the pommery mustard has more than just history. It has fabulous flavor that many say cannot be substituted. So, if you are cooking gourmet and the recipe calls for the pommery brand, it may be time for a trip to the specialty store.
Specialty mustards are unique in taste because of the way they are made and due to the combination of ingredients that are used in the recipe. Like its cousins in Dijon, this particular type of mustard has a nuttier flavor and is really nothing like the neon yellow condiment we Americans call mustard and eat on hotdogs and pretzels.
Mustards come in a wide variety of flavors, some spicy, others smooth and grainy, still others with a hint of nuts. Surprisingly, some types of mustard are seen as a condiment with more of a gourmet twist – think the sophistication of Grey Poupon. One is likely, in fact, to find a fine brand of imported mustard adorning the tables of the best restaurants in town. Not to mention that the chef is using it in all kinds of recipes as well.
Mustard is not just a spread for sandwiches, although that is one of the most popular uses – for both the ordinary yellow mustard and the more refined gourmet varieties. See, before mustard becomes a smooth sandwich spread, it is a spice. A seed to be more exact. Different mustards are created from different mustard seeds. There are 3 kinds of mustard seed:
> White mustard seeds, which are responsible for the neon yellow mustard we know and love, are the mildest form of mustard seed and they are used to make mustards that have a distinct flavor but not a lot of spice.
> Brown mustard seeds are hotter in flavor than the white seeds, and they are used to make hot and spicy mustard. The ground up seeds get hotter the longer they sit.
> Black mustard seeds have a distinctly different flavor with a lot of spice and bit. These seeds are customarily used in Indian and Southeast Asian dishes.