Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The greatest mustard in the world

As we all know, I am a sucker for a good German deli. So when I was passing one on my way to one of my favorite Redwood City sandwich joints, Ike's Lair, I had to stop and browse at this store called Gourmet Haus Staudt or some shit on Broadway there and see what lovely rare and imported items they might have on offer. In these situations I gravitate towards the pickle and mustard section because, as you might imagine, those are two staples in the sandwich ninja arsenal. A good pickle or kraut will enliven even the most pedestrian of sandwiches. And a good mustard can turn dog shit into haute cuisine. I mean, have you ever eaten uni (or Japanese sushi urchin) without a ton of wasabi on it? Or a corn dog plain? I rest my case. A fancy mustard is a fine thing indeed. And the Germans fucking invented mustard. At least I think they did. According to Wikipedia there was a recipe for mustard dating back to 4th or 5th Century Romans so what the heck do I know? What I do know is that a good German deli mustard can curl your toes, can make a sandwich sing, dammit. So I looked for something to jump out in the import store and what I found was exquisite.

Since I couldn't taste anything on offer I looked for the most ornate (read: expensive) thing there and this Wenger's Rotisseur Mustard fit the bill, clocking in at $10 and change for a 12oz crock. I liked it because of the fancy jar and the wax stamp on top and the little card explaining its origin. When they give you the mustard's provenance, you know its some legit spread.

The seal reads "Wappen der Famile Wenger - seit 1600" which I believe means "mustard of the Wenger family since 1600" if my limited German recollection serves me. When I say "limited" I mean "from the week I spent in Bavaria mostly drunk while ordering schnitzle with liters of beer". The card on the side is so awesome. Here's a picture of it to read since the whole story is magic and I don't feel like transcribing it.

The guy was so passionate about mustard he took 10 whole years to develop the perfect blend of ground, unground, and coarsely ground seeds for this shit. Are you kidding me? I spent a four half-assed semesters in high school tying to learn Spanish and I was like "Fuck this shit, I'll just point at things and grunt when I go to a foreign country." This dude, however, had such a passion he labored over his mustard blend for a decade and then had it matured in casks of red larch. What the fuck is larch? I'm guessing some kind of local Bavarian wood. Again, my spotty public school education is failing me. I suppose I could look it up. According to Wikipedia its some sort of pine tree and there are trivial references to it in both Monty Python's Flying Circus and Harry Potter.

Enough of this foreplay, onto the tasting! I could hardly wait until I got home to try it. I had eaten most of my Ike's sandwich by then but there was a little piece of it left to test drive this no-doubt magical mustard.

So I spread some on.

Holy Mordachai it was good. All tangy and mustard-y with the whole seeds sort of popping in your mouth like tobiko, mustard Pop Rocks almost, and a flavor that starts off sweet, almost like tangy apple cider with some cinnamon lingering there and just enough heat coming in at the end. Amazing. The 10-year craftsmanship and larch-maturing really shines through. Epecially the larch. Even Ike was into it.

On the back of the bottle I just noticed it says "Product of Austria."
Sorry Germany, its Austrian mustard from this point on. Wenger's Mustard, you're my God now!


Loving*wings said...

Wow, your enthusiasm for this mustard is quite contagious. I don't even like mustard and I feel an overwhelming need to go buy a jar of this stuff! On another note, I'm sure your mother will be proud to learn that you spent your entire visit to Bavaria in a drunken haze.

Anonymous said...

Yum! Maybe you should try making a batch of mustard. It looks pretty easy. Check it out.