The Kitchen Project | History Project | Contact Us | About Us | Free Food History Course | Food History Search

The History of Dijon Mustard


Make Your Own Dijon Style Mustard     |     Recipes

What is Dijon Mustard?

The traditional Dijon mustard recipe includes Verjus and ground brown mustard seeds along with salt and other spices. The most common Dijon mustard we know of has a pale yellow color and slightly creamy consistency. Black mustard seeds can also be used in making Dijon mustard. The high quality of seeds and they way they are processed makes Dijon mustard stand out from others.

At one time, any product called Dijon mustard had to be made in the Dijon region of France. Other products could be called "Dijon-style mustard" or simply "dijon mustard" with a lowercase "D".

Today, however, the term Dijon mustard has become generic, so any mustard using the basic Dijon recipe can be called Dijon mustard.

What does the word Dijon Mean?

Dijon is the capital of the Burgundy region in France, at one time it was perhaps the mustard capital of the world.

Mustard seeds have been used for thousands of years probably since someone bit into one,liked it's pungent flavor and found that if you chewed these seeds it could liven up a food that was past it's prime.

The growing of mustard seeds was not native to this area, but brought in by the Romans when they ruled the area probably in the middle ages, as they would grow well here. The Romans made a mustard from the ground or soaked seeds and vinegar.

Grinding mustard seeds with a cannonball on a mustard quern, a technique described by a number of early modern period cookery authors such as Robert May, "Have good seed, pick it, and wash it in cold water, drain it, and rub it dry in a cloth very clean; then beat it in a mortar with strong wine-vinegar; and being fine beaten, strain it and keep it close covered. Or grind it in a mustard quern, or a bowl with a cannon bullet". The Accomplisht Cook (London: 1660). Thank you to the Historic Foods Website

A Mustard Field

1752. The creation of Dijon mustard can be accredited to Jean Naigeon. Naigeon revolutionized the original mustard recipe by substituting verjuice (the sour juice of unripe grapes) for the vinegar traditionally used in the making of mustard. This resulted in a smoother, less acerbic mustard which was immediately embraced by mustard lovers everywhere.

Why Verjus? First of all white grapes grew well and were in abundance in Dijon, France and the when the harvest came, and the grapes were picked the under ripe grapes were not something you wanted to throw out so they came up with this idea.

Picking grapes for Verjus
Tacuinum Sanitatis (1474). Paris Bibliothèque nationale .

Frugal French housewives did not waste much. During the harvest, all grapes that were not ripe were set apart from the mature grapes ready for the wine vats. The nicest looking green grapes were then pricked with a fork and put into jars. The rest of the green grapes were pressed to extract the juice from the skins and seeds… The juice is then added to the bottles of grapes and a little sugar and 90 proof alcohol (marc-distilled from the pressings after the wine is made – bouilleur du cru-itinerant distillers still can be seen in rural France-going from one small holding to another making marc) and wine vinegar is added to the jars… After two months or more, the verjus is ready. - from 


What is the difference between Vinegar and Verjus?

Verjus is made from juice, and vinegar is made from fermented fruit.
Verjus is acidic but less harsh. Much like orange juice is less acidic than vinegar.

One great application is that if you use Verjus on salads, the flavor doesn't compete with
the wine you are serving.


The Grey- Poupon Moutarde (Mustard) Company

Started in 1777

Moutardier ( a mustard maker) Maurice Grey, teamed up with Auguste Poupon and together they formed the Grey Poupon mustard company which later merged with Maille, another well- known French mustard company.

However it was when Maurice Grey invented a machine that would grind the mustard and automate the process,
that it is said they really rolled out the Grey Poupon mustard that was heads and tails above the rest in quality.
I find some discrepancy here because some sources say they rolled out there mustard in 1845 almost 60 years later.

Headquarters of Grey Poupon Moutarde ( Mustard)
address 32 Rue de la Liberte, Dijon, France

The headquarters are still there in France, but the seeds are grown in Canada, and the wine
is grown in New York.


You can still visit Boutique Maille at 32 rue de la Liberté
, they serve mustard on tap similar to like a beer keg.
thank you to go Nomad


Are all Dijon Mustards alike?

Fine ground

Country style

Coarse Ground

Good mustard is made from good quality seeds. They are soaked , the husk is removed
and the seeds are either coarse, ,medium or fine ground and mixed with wine or vinegar or both.


Making your own Dijon Mustard

Making a Coarse Ground
Dijon Style Mustard
with Mortar and Pestle
by Chef Le Blu

Get Your Mustard Seed Here

Mustard Seed, Black - 20 Oz Jar Each  

Frontier Mustard Seed, Yellow Mustard Whole Certified Organic, 16 Ounce Bags (Pack of 2)  

Frontier Mustard Seed, Yellow Powder, 16 Ounce Bags (Pack of 3)  

and your Verjus



Make Flank Steak Dijon

with Step by Step Pictures


suite 101 about Dijon Mustard

Pictures of the Grey Poupon headquarters

What is Dijon Mustard?

Every Meal First

How mustard is made




Search for more Food History Articles


Food History Course
5 free E-Lessons

Come Explore with me
The History of Food

Have you ever wondered as I have.....

Who invented the first "Caesar Salad"?

How about the first salad or what was the first salad dressing?

How did Salad get the name Salad?

We explore different topics like famous restaurant dishes, famous fun foods like popcorn, famous Menus like Elvis's wedding reception, and popular food dishes that were invented by accident. Also tools and resources, that you can use to find information on different food and their origins

Just sign up here and you will get your first lesson instantly.

Click here to sign up

  ( We keep your address private )


Search for Food History Articles

Would love to hear your comments on our
Facebook site

More Links and Recipes

Here is a food history book I recommend



Mustard Seed, Black - 20 Oz Jar Each  


Frontier Mustard Seed, Yellow Mustard Whole Certified Organic, 16 Ounce Bags (Pack of 2)  



Frontier Mustard Seed, Yellow Powder, 16 Ounce Bags (Pack of 3)  


magic Bullet

Magic Bullet MBR-1701 17-Piece Express Mixing Set





Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 7-Piece Knife Set with Block  





E-Mail The Webmaster
© 1998- The Kitchen Project 

Last updated February 29, 2012