It was 1839 when Fallot started their mustard business in Burgundy. At that time, they were competing against 40 other artisan mustard makers. Today, 178 years later, they are the ‘last man standing’ – to coin a phrase! All the others have either closed down, or been devoured like a well made mustard sauce – by multi national corporations producing mustard on an industrial scale. Fallot by contrast, still make their mustards by grinding the seeds with mill stones at their small manufacturing facility in the centre of Beaune. This is the way it was done for centuries, – albeit the process is now modern and mechanised. And joy of joys, their business is booming. They recently opened a new shop and tasting centre at 16 Rue de la Chouette in Dijon, just around the corner from the market.
The location could not be more appropriate. The first owners of the neighbouring property were Miller and Durand. The doors of their drapery business opened in 1483, when Dijon was the undisputed world mustard champion. The ‘Rue’ is a narrow pedestrian street in the shadow of Notre Dame de Dijon – a cathedral like church dating back to 1230. From the shop you can hear the Jacomot clock – brought back from Kortrijk in Belgium by Philip the Bold in 1382 – it strikes on the hour and the quarter. The Rue de la Chouette is named after the small owl (chouette) carved into the outer wall of an extension to Notre Dame built in the 15c. The owl gained fame by reportedly bringing good luck to any passer by who made a wish while stroking the owl with the left hand – how many hands and how many wishes in over 500 years? Enough to cause the cute creature to lose its outer plumage! The owl is now a mascot for Dijon itself, a walkway round the city is named after it, and it is the emblem of Dijon football club.
And the mustard? Well, the majority of the seeds for Fallot mustard now come from untreated plants (mustard grows like a weed, and needs little encouragement), grown in Canada. However a part of the production, marked ‘Moutarde de Bourgogne’, is from plants grown in Burgundy. Fallot also work with local 2* Michelin restaurant group Bernard Loiseau, to create a series of ‘gourmet mustards’, such as Moutarde aux Feuilles de Coriandre et a L’Orange Confite. Just try it!
For The Burgundy Guide to Dijon http://blog.theburgundyshop.com/dijon-1