Maison Fallot mustard makers are a family owned business and one of the last independent mustard-makers in Burgundy. They produce 5% of the mustard made in France and for mustard fans, they have an extra treat – a mustard museum in the town of Beaune in Burgundy.
Actually it’s an interesting visit either way as this venerable firm has been around for almost 200 years so it is part of the foodie history of this gastronomic area.
Founded in 1840, Fallot still use a millstone to make mustard “the old way” and you can visit their premises and watch this famous condiment being made. Fallot say that mustard caught on in the Middle Ages among the working class population who believed it was good for the digestion. Later the aristocracy decided to love it too.
In the 1940’s the mustard seed fields that were so famous in Dijon suffered so that the mustard makers had to source their seeds from overseas, from Russia, Canada and Eastern Europe. However at Fallot they have started replanting the fields of Burgundy and now around 60% of their mustard seed is home-grown. Returning to the traditions of mustard growing, they started working with ten local farmers, now they work with 300!
At Fallot they used to mix verjus – an acidic “green” juice of under-ripe Burgundy grapes, with the ground mustard seeds but these days they use white wine and vinegar.
Around 40,000 visitors a year take the mustard tour at Fallot in Beaune. Thirty different mustards are made here and they’re used by top chefs all over France, including the legendary Paul Bocuse. There’s a great little tasting station in the shop where you can buy mustard to take home – from plain to basil or raspberry or a raft of other interesting flavours.
The French adore this piquant spicy sauce, in fact 1 kg is consumed for every man , woman and child in France though locals will tell you that in Burgundy they probably account for more, maybe 30 kg per head – but I’m not sure if that’s a joke!
It’s a great little tour.