Dijon is world famous for one thing: its mustard. But the last jars are about to be made in this town located 150 miles southeast of Paris, in the heart of Burgundy.
Amora-Maille mustard, the biggest brand in France, has been making mustard since 1900, but has announced the closure of 3 of its Dijon factories by the end of the year.
Even though Dijon was already known for its mustard in the 14th century, it became really famous when in 1856, Jean Naigeon started to make the celebrated yellow paste using vinegar instead of the usual verjuice from grapes. It then became easier to preserve.
In the late 19th century, Maurice Grey and later Pierre Poupon (Grey Poupon! Got it!) initiated the first industrialization of the product, which had been family made until then. In1937, an edict established that Dijon mustard had to be made a certain way and to follow a very strict process. Unfortunately it never received a A.O.C. label which would have prevented this product to be make anywhere else but in Dijon.
In the last decade, mustards seeds started to be imported from Canada and the prices for this staple ingredient have recently increased tremendously, up to 144%. Since it was bought by Unilever in 2000, the Amora-Maille Dijon factory has not been very prosperous.
The board of the company has consequently decided to concentrate its production in its Chevigny factory, in a Dijon suburb. However, the employees are now fearing that the board of directors should decide to take another step, and move its production to Turkey or Poland as it has previously happened for other brands.
A facebook group has been created to campaign against the closures at the following address (it is in French, sorry, but you can still check it) http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=34241799860
So let’s keep our fingers crossed so that we could enjoy Maille mustard for years and years. You know it is my favourite one! (See previous post from August 4, 2008.)
Here are some useful links:
- how to make a simple vinaigrette with Dijon mustard:
- The complete history of Dijon Mustard :