Thanks to the shortage, France is reinventing its mustard

Half a dozen tourists crowd around a bar at the Edmond Fallot mustard factory, where employee Martine Dupin presents all kinds of mustards on small wooden spoons. The flavors include gingerbread, blackcurrant and so-called “old-fashioned” varieties. The faces grimace each time the spice rises to the nose.

“I’m going to buy mustard today, that’s for sure, says Elisabeth Soulier, from Poitiers. It’s delicious with rabbit or in a vinaigrette. You can hardly find mustard anywhere these days, and the one from Dijon is really better than the others.”

Like the other visitors in the group, she will be able to buy a jar of mustard at the shop, but no more. France is going through a long mustard shortage which has emptied stocks of the cherished condiment in supermarkets by 21%. Edmond Fallot and his competitors had to limit in-store purchases in order to guard against the unreasonable reservations of some.

An “iconic product”

With the demand for mustard seeds at its peak due to drought and war, French farmers are now seeking to innovate and regain market share, to ensure the French gastronomic heritage. They say they are ready to overcome shortages and find opportunities for growth.

“Canadian mustard seeds are very good, but mustard is an emblematic product of France, explains Patrice Boudignat, who cultivates these seeds on almost 5 hectares near Provins. If we want to reduce transport costs and problems, and operate in a short circuit, then we must make more room for local products. It is our heritage that we seek to preserve on a daily basis.”

Mustard is the most popular condiment in France, after salt and pepper, and the French are the first consumers of it in Europe, around one kilo per year and per person.

Burgundy and more particularly Dijon have been the heart of this production since the Middle Ages. In recent years, Burgundy has counted around 300 producers for around 10,000 tonnes of seeds per year. But crops have been hit by insect pests, which farmers have failed to curb due to the ban on certain insecticides in France since 2019. Regional production has thus been reduced by two thirds in five years, from 12,000 tonnes in 2017 at 4

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The Christian Science Monitor (Boston)

In the grip of financial difficulties, this elegant tabloid founded in 1908 in Boston and read from coast to coast, ceased to be printed daily on March 27, 2009, to better focus its efforts on its website. However, a paper version continues to appear weekly.

Mary Baker Eddy created in 1908 – she was 87 at the time – The Christian Science Monitor, in reaction to the tabloid press. She did not want to found a religious title but a newspaper only financed by a Church: the First Church of Christ, Scientist. It remains renowned for its coverage of international affairs and the seriousness of its national information.

Since its launch in 1995, the electronic version of the Christian Science Monitor is one of the best news sites on the web. Since the newspaper decided (practically) to interrupt its paper publication, it has grown even more. Consultation of the archives is free, except for those prior to 1980.

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