One of the things I love most about my job is the joy of discovering amazing cheeses, little-known wines and delightful new foods. The world of food and drink has so much to offer and when I’m lucky enough to find something wonderful, I get to share it with you. Several years ago in Mantua, in the region of Emilia Romagna in northernmost Italy, I happened upon mostarda. Although the name may evoke mustard, this spicy-sweet condiment is far from the mustards we know. Mostarda is made very simply, from candied local fruits preserved in sugar and a touch of mustard seed or mustard oil to give it a zippy punch.
I’ve enjoyed mostarda made from pears, figs, Kiwi, red onion, orange, apples, plum, strawberry and even thinly sliced watermelon rinds. Each fruit, or sometimes vegetable, adds its own character, flavor and texture. And although the ingredients are simple, the end result is not! Earthy aromas mingle with the sweetness of the fruit, touched by an almost wasabi-like jolt of mustard.
Pick up a jar of mostarda together with an Italian cheese and see where it takes you!
Ingredients: figs (65%), sugar, lemon, mustard essence. 4.2 oz.