My family has bought Beaver brand mustards for many years and usually keeps several types on hand. I thought I was familiar with all the labels, but recently I noticed "Dusseldorf" mustard in my local grocery store. The label describes it as "spicy hot," but what else can you tell me about it?
— Bill A., via email
Dusseldorf is not unique to Oregon's Beaverton Foods Inc., but rather is a German style that could compete for popularity with Dijon, the namesake mustard of a city in eastern France. The city of Dusseldorf is on western Germany's Rhine River.
Although Dusseldorf doesn't have Dijon's name recognition, many chefs say the former's bold flavor is better in cooking, particularly tuna, burgers, chicken salad and grilled cheeses. Dusseldorf produced in the United States may be either smooth or grainy.
German originators seeking to protect the name, much like a wine appellation, say real Dusseldorf "consists exclusively of ground brown and yellow mustard seeds, unfiltered spirit vinegar produced in Dusseldorf," along with the city's "special lime- and mineral-rich water," salt, sugar and spices. It has "a bright, creamy consistency and a malt-brown color" and contains "tiny pieces of husks." The flavor is hot, malty and spicy.
Beaver's Dusseldorf mustard has a medium-coarse grind and bright-yellow color. It has a "pronounced celery flavor" and "herbal aroma," according to a panel trying Dusseldorf mustards for the Chicago Tribune. The 4-ounce, glass jar is priced at $1.25 online.
Koops and Lakeside of Wisconsin and Ohio's White Castle also were cited for making good Dusseldorf mustards. A mustard made in Hamburg, Germany, was tasters' least favorite.
Send questions to "Since You Asked, A la carte" Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; email to firstname.lastname@example.org.