Switzerland: Bénichon Mustard, A Fribourg Specialty to Welcome the Descent of the Cows
by Jonell Galloway
Bénichon mustard is quintessentially Swiss. It is a specialty of the canton of Fribourg.
It is more like a spicy jam than a mustard, in the traditional sense of the word. Its ingredients give it a sweet and sour taste.
It is traditionally eaten with another Fribourg specialty, cuchaule, a light brioche-like sweet saffron bread, during an annual village fair to celebrate and “bless” the autumn harvest and bringing down the herds of cattle from the mountains. This is now held the second week in September.
There are numerous recipes, but they traditionally include mustard flour (or powder), extra-white flour, white wine, fortified wine, rock candy and water, to which cinnamon, star anise and whole cloves are added.
It’s really quite easy to make. I’ve translated the Bénichon recipe and adapted it.
Suggestion: Do this on a day when you’ll be at home all day, or soak the mustard powder over night and finish off the recipe the next day.
Recipe for Bénichon Mustard
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200 grams mustard powder
5 deciliter white wine
3 liters water
150 grams of cinnamon sticks
½ star anise
1 kilogram rock candy
1 liter fortified wine
250 grams of extra-white flour
- Soak mustard flour in white wine for half a day.
- Simmer water, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and rock candy for 2 1/2 hours.
- Mix extra-white flour and fortified wine until it forms a smooth paste.
- Pour the spice mixture through a sieve to filter out spices. Save cooking juices.
- Add white flour/fortified wine mixture to cooking juices.
- Mix with wire whip. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
- Add mustard mixture to wine mixture. Whip to blend well.
- Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Store in glass jars and cool.
Photo courtesy of Fribourg Region tourist bureau, with their authorization.