As the old adage goes Ignorance Is Bliss.
Today, my mind and taste buds have been opened to the uncharted world of mustard.
I was invited to meet with Harry Lalousis, Mustard Sommelier of Maille Mustard, to learn more about his culinary background and to school me in Mustard 101.
Who influenced you the most in your love for cooking?
My father. His father and grandfather were chefs so I come from a long line of men working in restaurants. Our family moved from Australia to Greece when I was 12 where we opened a restaurant. At a young age, I learned the ins and outs and moved quickly into managerial roles in the industry.
Whenever and wherever my father travelled, he would return home with different foods from around the world … french butter, mustard and spices.
My father taught me that good hearty warm meals use the best of the best ingredients.
What is your favourite childhood dish?
My father made this sauce using only three ingredients: lemon, mustard and butter from France. The mustard doesn’t allow the butter to curd and lemon is used as a natural preservative so we would use this sauce for at least a week. We typically used it as a marinade or dip with bread.
Though my mother and I have tried to recreate this sauce, it doesn’t taste the same as my father’s. It’s his energy and love that is passed through his cooking. If you cook a dish, it won’t taste the same as someone else who cooked it using the exact same ingredients and method. We all have a different – our own unique – energy that is transferred to our dishes.
You are one of three mustard sommeliers in the world. How did you get into this role?
When I was General Manager of a cookery school, I met many high-caliber chefs in England. They consistently had Maille mustard on their shopping list which left me intrigued to find out more. I studied mustard for six months by going to farms where mustard seeds are cultivated into the sauce which you and I are familiar with.
How is Maille different from other mustard brands?
Maille cuts rather than grind the seeds so there is less penetration of flavours when white wine or white wine vinegar is added.
Also, Maille is a household with a rich history dating back 1747. Our founder Antoine-Claude Maille and his son (also named Antoine-Claude) were well-known vinegar makers in Paris and even had fans from the Royal family including Maquise de Pompadour, mistress to Louis XV.
Today, you can find Maille boutiques all around the world including New York, London, Bordeaux, Dijon, Sydney and Melbourne.
What are the trends for mustard?
There are 84 different types of Maille mustards across the globe. In Canada, you can find Dijon, Old Dijon, Hot Dijon, Honey Mustard, Horseradish and Spicy. And we recently launched Honey Dijon in a squeeze bottle.
What is your fave mustard and food pairing?
I love roasting vegetables in the oven then pouring the Mediterranean Marinade all over it. The marinade is so versatile. For example, if use cilantro, you’ll end up with an Asian flavour. Or basil for Italian or throw in a bit of turmeric for an Indian-inspired dish.
The possibilities using mustard are endless.
You can learn, explore and experience the world of mustard at the Maille Flavour Studio during Taste of Toronto from June 23 – 26.
Be creative and customize your own gourmet mustard with different ingredients including basil, oregano, berries, Sriracha sauce, maple syrup and curry.
Sample different flavours at the signature mustard bar. You must try the truffle mustard at Mustard On Tap station.
Lastly, Harry will be hosting free workshops at every hour, sharing the tricks and trade of utilizing mustard in everyday cooking and even in cocktails and dessert.
How do you typically incorporate mustard in your cooking? Leave a comment below!
Endorsement Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with Maille Mustard which I received complimentary products. As a credible blogger, I only share products and services that I believe in. All opinions expressed are my own.