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Moustarde Violette


When I travel I generally try to bring some foodstuff back that is a specialty of the area or reminds me of my visit in some way.  Since there are so many rules and regulations about what can be brought back across borders (and also looking at what is most convenient to pack and carry) these items are often a sauce or condiment of some sort.
A few years ago while strolling Rue Mouffetard in Paris I came across a shop selling all kind of interesting things – jams, jellies, sauces and mustards.  Lots of mustards. I was in my own little heaven while perusing the shelves there.  While I don’t remember the name of the shop at this moment (I’m sure I have it in a file) I would be able to walk right back to it.
Eventually a little jar caught my eye.  It contained a deep, dark purple mustard and the label said it was Moustarde Violette.  I don’t speak French but I can understand a few words and what I gathered from the label was that it was somehow a grape and mustard concoction.  Between the idea I had in my mind of what it might taste like and the cute shape of the jar I was sold.  
I returned a bit later that week to buy a smaller jar when it turned out that I was going to cook dinner for some friends living in Paris.  (In fact, the whole dinner came from the markets on Rue Mouffetard!)  I decided it would be fun to taste it before I left Paris to see if the bottle was worth schlepping home!
At my friends’ house we got the kids fed and then settled in to prepare dinner for the adults.  We started the meal with a course of fresh country bread, ash-covered Chevre, the Moustarde Violette and, of course, a couple bottles of wine.  The tangy-slightly sweet mustard added just the right complementary note to the cheese and went beautifully with the wine – something you can’t say for all mustards!
I was so happy to find I’d made a great purchase.  I brought my Moustarde Violette home and happily served it along with cheeses and meats for various occasions and events.  My bottle was starting to get low and I was feeling a little sad – but luck was coming my way! 
I happened to bring some of the mustard along on a afternoon excursion on my friend EE’s boat.  Also on that afternoon trip were MG and DW, two people who have since become some of my best friends.  Well, everyone loved the mustard and it turned out that MG and DW were planning a Paris trip a couple months later!  Being the sweet and thoughtful people they are, soon after they returned I found myself with a brand new jar of Moustarde Violette! 
Some time later, while browsing the aisles of Urban Fare in Yaletown (Vancouver, BC) I was thrilled to find my Moustarde Violette amongst the mustards!  Since that time I’ve purchased a couple of jars to keep my addiction fed.  But the last few times I’ve been to Vancouver I haven’t been able to find it.  I am so sad. 
So yesterday, I scraped the final remains of my last jar of Moustarde Violette onto a plate, along with some cheese, salami and a bit of bread.  (In the photo there is also a bit of Framboise mustard – that’s the yellow one.)  I took a photo and then settled in to enjoy that little condiment that brings back memories of that trip to Paris and many other good times with friends. 
I’m heading back to France this fall and will have a few days in Paris at both the beginning and end of my trip.  Guess where you will find me?  
  1. Ovens to Betsy permalink
    04-Apr-2007 7:44 am

    Oh man, that sounds heavenly!  My husband and I are going to Paris in September; I\’ll definitely have to pick up a jar (or three) for myself!

  2. Culinary permalink
    04-Apr-2007 4:29 pm

    Oh fun!  I was just looking for my "France" folder to try to find the name of the shop and it\’s not in my file where I expect it to be.  Shoot!  If you head up Mouffetard (away from the river) you\’ll come to the area where the open air market is.  Before you get to the Farmer\’s market there\’s a fish shop and a wine shop and lots of places selling rotisserie chicken!  The mustard shop is right around that area.  The brand I linked to is my favorite – there are similar mustards that go by the name of Moutarde Violette (without the "s") and I\’ve tried some that I don\’t like nearly as much. 
    Anyway, the little shop (and the whole street!) are lots of fun.  I\’m sure you\’ll discover all types of treasures there!

  3. Eric permalink
    09-Apr-2007 10:21 am

    I was just in Paris.  If only I had known about your love of this mustard I would have been happy to visit your shop!  EE

  4. Culinary permalink
    09-Apr-2007 10:39 am

    Fine, just tease me like that…. ;-)  Thanks for the thought though and I\’d be happy to place my order next time you head that way!

  5. 10-Apr-2007 8:13 pm

    Hey B – Thank you for your recent comments.  I really appreciate it. 

  6. Ovens to Betsy permalink
    16-Sep-2007 11:31 am

    I found the store!  (It\’s called Pierre Champion).  Thank you so much!I have a funny story about it though.  My husband and I headed there one morning (the area was less than a half mile from where we stayed) and I told him I wasn\’t exactly sure where to look.  However, once we got to the rotisserie chicken places I figured we were close.  A lot of places weren\’t open yet, but I looked in each one that was.  Nothing.  On a lark we stepped into a small grocery store — your basic neighborhood joint.  While I highly doubted they\’d have it, I figured I\’d give it a chance.  The shop clerk asked if we were looking for anything in particular, and since my husband speaks French, he replied "moustarde violette."  The clerk, in a rather disgusted tone, says "try the Champs Elysses." !!!  (I\’m sure he was thinking we were just a couple of snooty tourists looking for high falutin\’ food).However, I didn\’t give up.  I reread your directions and remembered the fish and wine shops.  We returned later that day and sure enough, we found the store.  I bought two jars of Moutarde Violette (so not the brand you like).  But I have to say it\’s divine.  We had it with pate and a couple of stinky cheeses in our hotel room that night. SOOOO good!

  7. Culinary permalink
    26-Sep-2007 8:57 am

    Ovens to Betsy!
    I\’m so glad you found it!  Good job on sticking with it!  I was actually just there myself – that\’s why the slow response.  Got back Monday night.  Pierre Champion is indeed the place.  They\’ve really reduced their inventory since the last time I was there – still there are some interesting things.  One bummer though is that they no longer carry the large jar of the brand that I like so I had to buy lots of little jars – not horrible but a little heavier to carry I think. 
    I\’ll be checking your blog to see what adventures you had.  I hope to start my posts a bit later this week – gotta get caught up on "real" work first…. 
    ~ B

  8. Kerry permalink
    04-Nov-2012 3:49 am

    This is sold at Zingerman’s Mail Order online or phone 888-636-8162. Also superb sour cream coffee cake.

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