Dusseldorf Mustard, Try the original before trying the rest and you'll know what the fuss is about.
A couple of weeks ago the Chicago Tribune Featured on the front page of the food section a write-up on Dusseldorf Mustard. The sub heading teased "Move over Dijon, there's another strong mustard in the house."
Oh boy I love Löwensenf the original Dusseldorf (prounounced DDorf)mustard. My brother, the one that lives in Germany, introduced me to the spicy stuff. Seriously side by side its prowess reduces most Dijon mustards to floury paste. I went though a phase stockpiling tubes of the stuff on visits to DDorf and Berlin.
I went to the mustard museum in DDorf.
All slathered in mustard I was ready to sing some halleluahs as I dug into this article. It quotes chef Walter Staib of Philadelphia's City Tavern Restaurant. He correctly states "Dusseldorf has much better flavor than Dijon," and he goes on to assert the Dusseldorf mustard has a bold(ness) that's better for cooking. Testify.
Staib lamented that he had to change recipes in his cookbook, "Black Forest Cuisine" to call for Dijon, because the editors wanted a paste that was easy to find.
The article then meanders a bit into to the puddle of European protected names. Apparently some folks around DDorf (which has been a mustard producing center for centuries) want to have an appellation for for their mustard. For the truly afflicted here is the application (PDF) in English and in Deutsch. Now Dijon mustard does not enjoy a protected status, but everybody knows what a Dijon should taste like, apparently the same cannot be said for our German sauce.
This is the spot where the Chicago Tribune got lost. If you are going to write about mustard you gotta know what it tastes like.
When Chef Staib said of the mustard "Close your eyes and (taste), you would think it was a very strong Dijon," he was not referring to mustard from White Castle.
Nor the mug mustard from Hamburg.
As a companion piece, the food section taste tested five Dusseldorf style mustards but managed not to procure the original Dijon slayer. If they had, I imagine the food section would have realized how uninformed the taste test was.
So why didn't they bother to try the Lowensenf? Hard to find? Well, no and yes. Here in one of the greatest food cities in the world, Chicago, there's at least three places to get your Dusseldorf senf fix:
Cost Plus World Market in Lincoln Park, I suspect they have it at most locations, they have it online.
At Gepperth's Meat Market on Halsted, they stack em deep.
And I also called Gene's Sausage Shop, in Lincoln Square, they have it in stock.
And the hard part of finding real Dusseldorf mustard? Short shelf life. Like herbs and spices, All mustards lose potency with age. In fact DDorf mustard makers are supposed limit shelf life to no more than ten months. This can lead to limited quanities here in the states. But if you can find it get it because it's good.
This mustard controversy comes at a particularly sensitive time for me, Oktoberfest starts in just a few days.
No sausage should ever be without mustard, and it's important that you make informed mustard choice. I'm here to help.
PS. Here's a hot dog video from a few years ago which includes a Dusseldorf Mustard demo. Enjoy!