Welcome ladies and gentleman to the main event of the week! In the category of Culinary Boxing here at Chef’s Mandala, we have weighing in at 300,000 tons from the southern prairies of Canada, please welcome Canadian mustard! His opponent, weighing in 1,250 tons from Dijon, please welcome French mustard!
LET’S GET READY TO RRRRR…….HAVE A SPIRITED DEBATE ON FOOD!!!
In the Red Corner – CANADIAN MUSTARD
Don’t let their modesty fool you, the rolling grasslands of central Canada product 95% of the world’s mustard seed harvest. Canadian farming is not for the faint of heart. When their wine grapes froze rock solid during a harsh winter, Canada invented ice wine. When the Game of Thrones phrase “winter is coming” became popular, Canadian farmers thought it was a local weather announcement that “summer” (all 3 weeks) was almost over. Cherry-picking the best seeds for local mustard producers, Canada is an agricultural titan who wants some payback for all those bullshit French mustard commercials!
In the Blue Corner – FRENCH MUSTARD
Accusations of Canadian mustard seed doping have dogged the champ since his inception in the 13th century. Fearful of becoming the Lance Armstrong of condiments, the French have repeatedly proposed making Dijon or Burgundy an A.O.P. (name protected) mustard region. But importing 95% of all the mustard seed you use makes it difficult for any government to certify French mustard as being truly French (as opposed to a French recipe involving white wine). Local moutardiers argue that the art of making mustard is no different then cheese. Sure, you get a raw material like milk, but it takes hard work, expertise and experience to turn it into a delicious fromage. Mustard is no different, with experts utilizing both hot and cold fermentation techniques (similar to famous Parisian Boulangier Chef Kaiser with bread) to create a masterful condiment. French mustard insists that it is Le Roi de Moutarde and Canada can “Suce-moi” (suck it)!
- The Play-By-Play
Mother of God, Canada comes out swinging with a vengeance. Who knew America’s neighbors to the North were filled with such unholy rage??? The commentators haven’t seen this kind of passion since, well, any hockey match. Yet France takes the abuse and keeps coming back! Napoleon’s children didn’t get to where they are today by being pushovers. But to paraphrase Tex Cob, Canadian mustard could punch French mustard in the neck and break its’ ankles. After several brutal rounds, French mustard is saved by the bell! The fighters go into their neutral corners while the judges confer.
AND THE WINNER IS….
French mustard by technical knock out!!! The crowd is absolutely stunned ladies and gentleman. I myself am at a loss for words (and yet, I keep typing and you keep reading, oh the irony)! The sad reality is that while gourmet consumers world-wide are willing to pay more for quality in some product categories, not all have achieved mainstream approval. Your local expensive retailer like Whole Foods might sell an amazing French olive oil for $30 USD, but mustard hasn’t crossed the $10 mark. And as long as industrial manufacturing efficiencies are necessary to meet that price – value proposition, the French are a formidable, albeit “you get what you pay for” quality opponent.