What Is Dijon Mustard? (And Is It Just for People Who Own Rolls Royces?)

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember the classic Grey Poupon commercial, which taught us all that rich people eat fancy meals in their Rolls Royces and keep a jar of Dijon mustard in the glove compartment for emergencies. But what is Dijon mustard and what makes it the preferred condiment of people who own dressage horses and still play croquet on their palatial estates? Let’s take a look at what makes Dijon mustard très magnifique. 

Where does Dijon mustard come from?

Surprise, surprise: Dijon mustard originated in France. Specifically it’s from Dijon, France which, if you do a quick Google image search, looks so freaking quaint it will make you sick. The town of Dijon is the capital of the Burgundy region, which is home to the most high-falutin wines in the world. Wine and mustard? They’re working overtime over there.

And they’ve been in the mustard game for a long time. Dijon mustard was the preferred condiment of King Philip VI, who is said to have first tried it in 1336. Phil was sometimes called The Fortunate, which we can only imagine is because he had Dijon mustard at every meal. However, only a year after he first had the mustard, Philip entered the Hundred Years’ War with England. It’s very likely he was being too greedy with this liquid gold from his Motherland. He refused to share with the monarch across the channel, making Dijon mustard the only recorded condiment in history to start a global conflict (it’s true, don’t look it up).

Grey Poupon is arguably the most famous Dijon mustard in the world (though it’s not the best dijon mustard, according to the Sporked ranking) and has been around since 1866. For a long time, the only mustards that could be called Dijon were the ones that actually came from Dijon. The European Union created something called a “protected designation of origin,” meaning that a food only exists because of the unique geographical area in which it is made. However, as Dijon mustard grew in popularity, the term “Dijon” could be applied to any Dijon-style mustard. 

What is Dijon mustard made of?

Surprise, surprise: The secret ingredient in modern Dijon mustard is white wine. Way back when before the Black Plague, the French would make their Dijon with something called verjus, which is basically non-alcoholic grape juice made from unripened grapes. Over time, verjus was replaced with a combination of white wine and vinegar, which resulted in the sharp tang for which Dijon mustard is known.

The base of Dijon mustard is still the brown mustard seed, however it is traditionally ground and pureed much finer than more coarse mustards. This creates a smoother, creamier sauce that has a spice level between the harder brown mustard and that yellow mustard that no one should eat under any circumstances (come at me, cowards). (Editor’s note: Luke’s views in no way represent those of the majority of the Sporked staff, especially not Jordan.) 

The great thing about Dijon mustard is how well it can accompany any dish. It’s a great addition to any mayo-based salad; using equal parts mayo and Dijon mustard will lift your traditional potato salad to another level. It’s also great in a glaze or added to salad dressings.

Can you slather Dijon mustard all over a hot dog?

Yes. In fact, it is encouraged. No longer is Dijon mustard reserved for the kind of people who put a dainty dollop of it on their plates using their tiny heirloom spoons that are only for mustard-dolloping. It’s time to take back this condiment from the idle rich! Slather it all over your ham steaks. Funnel it into your deviled eggs. And, as those bourgeois moneybags look down their noses at us, the unwashed masses, we will defiantly shove our french fries into the massive puddle of Dijon mustard that we squeezed onto a paper plate until the bottle started to make that farting sound. The king is dead! The people are victorious!

About the Author

Luke Field

Luke Field is a writer and actor originally from Philadelphia. He was the former Head Writer of branded content at CollegeHumor and was also a contributing writer and actor to the CollegeHumor Originals cast. He has extensive improv and sketch stage experience, performing both at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and with their Touring Company. In addition to writing, he also works as a Story Producer, most recently on season 4 of Accident, Suicide, or Murder on Oxygen. Keep your eyes peeled for his brief but impactful appearance as Kevin, the screaming security guard, in the upcoming feature The Disruptors, directed by Adam Frucci.

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