This violet mustard caught my eye almost ten years ago. It seemed like a gimmick—“The most exciting new mustard innovation in ages,” I thought to myself. I suppose it's no surprise—even though it was to me—that it's actually a very old combination.
Moustarde au violette has been eaten in French grape growing regions for centuries. It used to be made each autumn by blending freshly pressed red grape juice with just ground mustard seed. It was a lost art until Elie-Arnaud Denoix worked for a year to revive it. He tested his recipe with older folks in the village of Brive La Gaillarde, where the last violet mustard maker had been located. He put it before them and asked, “Is it like what you remember?” Fifty percent said absolutely yes. Fifty percent said absolutely not. He was surprised that two people agreed, let alone half the folks he asked, so he called it a success!
Violet mustard is coarsely ground and crunches when you bite, like caviar. It's naturally sweet and spicy, making it ideal for serving with meats of all sorts. In its home region of Périgord it's a traditional side for boudin sausage cooked with apples. It also adds a flowery flush of flavor to fresh cheeses like our City Goat.
"You might feel ever so slightly sentimental about the dark aubergine beauty of the Moutarde Violette, a whole-grain mustard that gets both its purple hue and its mellow, almost molasses-like flavor from the addition of grape must, the dark juice that is a byproduct of winemaking."
Sara Dickerman, Wall Street Journal