ZUT Alors! Où ce trouve Le Moutarde?

Well apparently not in the supermarkets in France. At the start of our annual sejour en France, the first thing we do is an enormous grocery shop, especially as some of our kids, and their kids are about to arrive.

We both grab a trolley ( chariot) for which of course you need an Euro coin ( but better still a Jeton which they give you for free! This is France after all!) We set out on our mission, Himself to find, Beer, Wine, Long Life Milk, Orange Juice, Apple Juice, Toilet Rolls, Kitchen Rolls, dishwasher tablets, salt and finish. His mission to find all the things which we need that are particularly Bulky/ Heavy, whereas mine is to source fresh fruit, vegetables, salad, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products , biscuits for snacks, bread ( remember how to use the slicing machine) and anything else that I have forgotten to put on my list. And I forgot mustard, but I got the mayonnaise and the mustard mixed with mayonnaise, the olive oil, the balsamic but how did I forget the mustard ?

Enroute home back up all of the hairpins we stopped to get petrol and I ran into another store…… no mustard ! I joked that there seemed to be a shortage of mustard. The following day, into my local store ( not my favourite) the only mustard that was on the shelf was from POLAND! Zut alors que s’est-il passé avec la moutarde française? Well there is a shortage and people are Stock Piling!

Dijon mustard has been around since the 13 C, made in the town of Dijon, in Burgundy. Blizarrely , unlike Champagne, Brie, Puy lentils, Dijon mustard does not have a regional designation ( AOP or AOC) and therefore can come from anywhere. Amora Maille was one of the biggest Dijon mustard producers, but the factory closed in 2008. Although Maille and Amora are still made, but are owned by Unilever.

Today, Edmund Fallot ( founded in 1840j remains in Dijon and is perhaps the only true Dijonbais mustard makers left. Eldest daughter ( @globetotting.com) recently went on a press trip to Dijon with her three kids, where they went to Edmund Fallot and even had a mustard making class. There they were able to grind the seeds, add the vinegar and choose the flavour, ranging from blackcurrant, honey and balsamic, grains, honey and smoked paprika, tarragon, green pepper and even gingerbread. They brought the samples with them and so we were able to sample them all.

So why is there a shortage? The French consume about a kilo of mustard per person a year. But that is not the reason. War and Climate change is the answer. Drought in Canada last year meant that the Brown mustard ( Dijon mustard is made with brown seed) seed harvest was very poor, and the war in Ukraine has meant that there has not been an alternative source! Quell Horreur!

Enough of mustard. The little ones ( not so little) have each cooked dinner this last week. Tess (12) made Spring Rolls and Pad Thai, whilst Alfie ( almost 15) made Teriyaki Chicken and an Asian Cucumber Salad, and young Sam, helped with making and cooking hamburgers!

Making the Spring Rolls was a bit of a challenge. Finding the bean sprouts was just the start and eventually found them in tins! Then onto the wonton/ pastry skins. What we found worked but ended up making long spring rolls, which worked well and were very tasty.

Alfie’s rendition of the Asian cucumber salad was indeed impressive. Apparently he had seen it on TikTok!

  • 6 mini cucumbers or 2 large cut into 3
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 2tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cloves garlic grated or squeezed
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 tsp seasame seeds
  • Method
  • Cut off the ends of the cucumbers
  • Place 2 chop sticks along the sides of the cucumbers as a guide fro cutting
  • Make thin diagonal cuts until the knife touches the chop sticks,
  • Turn the cucumbers around and cut again but not all the way to the chop sticks
  • Put the cucumbers into a box or bowl and sprinkle with salt to draw out the moisture and leave for about 30-45 minutes
  • Rinse well and pat dry with paper towel
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix well, refrigerate until ready to serve
  • NB. This can be as spicy or mild as you like. Personally I would use some chilli flakes in oil
  • NB. I have seen a similar recipe but with cooked courgettes.

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