Why there’s no ‘Dijon’ in Dijon mustard

For Mauriange, while these issues have certainly caused short-term problems for the mustard industry, there may be a silver lining to the recent shortage.

“This project had been facing climate challenges these last few years, which discouraged a lot of farmers,” she said, noting, nevertheless, that a rise in prices for seeds following the shortage “has rekindled the dynamic” and encouraged farmers to devote themselves ever more diligently to successful production of this now-scarce crop.

For Désarménien, the answer may indeed be found in the rich history of the region.

“Our ancestors had growing methods that allowed them to limit these eventualities – insects and the like,” said Désarménien. “Today, we’re more in this mindset: of learning how we can move beyond chemicals to produce crops that may not be organic yet, but that are sustainable, if you like. That’s our goal.”

While “Dijon mustard” will likely never refer to a truly local product again, Moutarde de Bourgogne seems destined to develop its own reputation: not the connotations of grandeur or luxury Dijon producers have long capitalized on, but rather of sustainability and terroir.

And, if this year’s harvest is any indication, the times seem to finally be changing for the little Burgundian mustard seed. Burgundian mustard growers brought in yields 50% higher than last year’s, exceeding even the historic precedent set in 2016, French news outlet 20 Minutes reported in late July. As a result, moutardiers expect to be able to restock the condiment shelves this November – just in time to add tangy, spicy flavour to France’s most beloved autumnal dishes.

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