Moutard Violette de Brive
This lovely jar of mustard was languishing on a discount shelf. It was past its best before date and so half price – $5.00. As mustard doesn’t go off (too much vinegar – or in this case, grape must), I brought it home.
Also, thanks to the grape must (grape pressings from wine), there’s none of the benign discolouring that happens to mustard with oxidation and age. This one is already dark. Purple, in fact.
Grape must mustards made a splash a few years back with North American chefs after an earlier French revival. This violet mustard was resurrected in 1986 from an old Limousin recipe at the Denoix Distillery, a family business making liqueurs and aperitifs. More in this 2004 NYT article.
There are now several brands of grape must mustard available in specialty food shops. Some can be sharp, particularly if there’s more vinegar than grape must.
Like its beautiful label, this one is soft and mellow, a little like the air you breathe around wine casks. The grape must is equally balanced with the mustard so it’s hard to know what is suspending what.
The mustard seeds here are finely ground yet still grainy with the consistency more runny than we’re used to. Spread it around like any mustard but it’s so right with cheese – especially the hard nutty kind. You could try Alpindon from the Kootenay Alpine Cheese Co. in Creston, which you can buy at Benton Brothers in Vancouver.