Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mustard--Italian Style
(Looking for restaurants opened on Christmas day? Examiner.com can help.)

Fig.1. This mostarda di frutta, which is made in Cremona, goes very well with any boiled meat from chicken to sausage.

In Italy, mostarda is completely different than North American mustard. Very often referred to as Mostarda di Cremona, this fruit chutney consists of candied fruit, such as apricots, cherries, pears and figs, preserved in syrup, with a distinct note of mustard seed essence. Mostarda di frutta, as it’s often called in Italy, is a perfect accompaniment to bolito misto. (Boiled meat) but also goes very well with cheese. The mustard essence is strong stuff (think wasabi on steroids) and takes some getting used to; hence it’s very important that something not over laden with strong flavours accompany the condiment.
The only place I’ve had mostada di frutta is in Italy, and so I was quite surprised to discover it at, La Maison du Parmesan while I was on the east end tour with Susan. Owner Maria Giampa told me they bring in a limited amount every year at the request of some of their customers. (Who probably hail from the Lombardy region where mostarda di frutta is as common as ketchup is here.) If you bring in the New Year, as many Italians do, with cotechino or zampone on your menu, mostarda di frutta will take your meal to a new level.

Fig.2. The fruit is sweet, but the syrup can pack quite a punch. The sweet and strong flavors are what make mostarda di frutta unique.

La Maison du Parmesan, 9350 Lacordaire, St, Leonard, 514-323-8764.

Note: I buy my cotechino at Charcuterie Noel who makes an excellent one this time of the year only. As for the zampone, I’ve heard that Inter-Marche, RDP makes some, I’ll have to check—if somebody knows send me an e-mail.
Charcuterie Noel, 5733 Leger Blvd, Montreal North, 514-323-0256

1 comment:

FMG said...

Boucherie Milano (north end of Jean Talon market) and Milano Fruit Store on St.Laurent both sell very good cotechino. Best to call ahead because it's not always available. Milano Fruit Store also sells it frozen, but I have not tried it.