|Moutarderie Fallot, Beaune, France
|Ever toured a mustard factory? You can do that in Beaune and learn all about mustard.
Fallot prides itself on using old fashioned methods, in particular grinding the mustard seeds at a low speed so that they do not overheat and lose flavor. Larger commercial producers of necessity use the faster, hotter methods, and the flavor is not the same.
They offer two types of visits. The Découvertes tour is the traditional one, which essentially is a visit of a "mustard museum." Groups are limited to 20 people, and through a combination of tour guide commentary, videos, displays, and experiential activities, you will learn the history of mustard making in Dijon/Burgundy and the changes that are taking place today.
It's a fun visit that even gives you a chance to try your hand at making mustard. Hint: it's hard! At the end you have the opportunity to taste several different Fallot mustards and see which you prefer.
The Sensational Experiences tour takes visitors inside the actual production facility to see all of the steps in the process of making mustard.
Be sure to visit the shop, where you can buy all the mustard you want. There's even a "mustard bar" where you can taste a variety of mustards (just push down on the top of the jar and a small squirt of your chosen mustard will come out of the spout, ready for you to taste. The shiny rows in the back are vending machines for tiny jars of different mustards.
The most interesting thing I learned was that "Dijon Mustard" today refers to the process and ingredients, rather than to Dijon or Burgundy. In fact, "Dijon Mustard" is made in locations around the world, with Fallot the only traditional producer left in Burgundy.
Fallot for many years imported mustard seed from Canada, after production dropped off in Burgundy. In recent years Fallot has made an effort to support the growing of mustard seed in Burgundy, and today about 10% of its product is made solely from mustard seeds grown in Burgundy. Also using only Burgundian wine in making the mustard, they produce Moutarde de Bourgogne—as distinct from Moutarde de Dijon (which they also produce).
The Moutarde de Bourgogne label says Indication Géographique Protégée and carries the special Moutarde de Bourgogne seal. The Association Moutarde Bourgogne helped achieve this designation, which was granted in 2009.
You might be wondering: does it really matter? Does it taste different? Absolutely! The Fallot mustard is much sharper, spicier, and more flavorful than other Dijon mustards, many of which seem mild by comparison, and not nearly as interesting.