Monday, August 3, 2009

#10 Mustard Festival - Mt. Horeb, WI - August 1, 2009

#10 Mustard Festival - Mt. Horeb, WI - August 1, 2009

I love all mascots, but I tried to play it cool with the French's Mustard bottle. Obviously it didn't work. I guess I've always been more of a Plochman's kind of guy anyway. (If you're listening Plochman my email is on this site). In fact here are some interesting Plochman facts relating to everything from Van Gogh to religion.

And then there was the food. The Mustard Festival offered free All-Beef hot dogs all day long, although there was a $1 suggested donation. The hot dog was excellent (quite better than the one at Catsup Fest). Here is what I ate accompanied by Habanero Mustard on the left, and Wasabi Mustard on the right. My tastebuds were happy, but my stomach may not have shared the joy.

This was Wisconsin, so there had to be cheese. I was actually surprised by how well mustard went with little cubes of cheese. I would highly advise a spicy mustard with a creamy delicate swiss or muenster. Most importantly everyone respected the "no double dip" rule.

Culver's, home of the Butter Burger, got involved with this mustard custard concoction. (If you work for Culver's please email me regarding sponsorship opportunities). The ratio is 5 gallons of vanilla custard to every one gallon of pure yellow mustard. It starts off with a mapley vanilla flavor, then explodes into a mustard kick, then tails back off into vanilla. It was much better than the horseradish ice cream I had before. The interesting thing is that the pretzel pieces completely make this dessert. They were the perfect compliment and mellowed out all the flavors into a a very soothing odd flavor.

Now I had mentioned that mustard people and ketchup people don't always see eye to eye. I have even compared the clash to Star Wars people versus Star Trek people. I will have to admit though that the Mustard folks just may be the aggressors. Can't we all get along? (and maybe with a cow? and salt and pepper too?)

Video of the week. I have liked Ben Harper since hist first album "Welcome to the Cruel World". Here is a cover of his "Always got to steal my kisses from you". A pretty peppy rendition with lots of cowbell!

First and foremost I would like to thank Imron and my Moms and Pops for their support, and for joining me on this trip. We all met together in Chicago on Friday and fought the rain and traffic to Wisconsin the next morning. It was well worth the effort, and let this be a constant reminder to those of you with young families; food festivals are a perfect family event on a budget. As I said, the hot dogs were free with a suggested donation of $1. Against my expectations the donation did not go to the festival or local business, but to the local food pantry. In fact all of the mustard related events were donations towards the pantry. This was a refreshing change of pace, and made my hot dogs go down a little easier.

Mustard was the definite star at this festival. There was a mustard yellow car exhibit, mustard bottle bowling, ring around the mustard toss, painting with mustard, mustard tastings, mustard ice cream and of course the hot dogs. Apparently Barry Levenson was very distraught after Billy Buckner lost the '86 World Series for his beloved Red Sox. While other people cried, for some odd reason he found solace in collecting mustard. He set up his mustard museum in Mt. Horeb that year, and today it boasts over 4,000 different mustards. I'll have to admit the store and museum were pretty impressive. There were hundreds of mustards available for purchase and you could sample each one in the store. And Barry is no longer just a man, but he puts on a lab coat and calls himself Dr. Mustard.

The mustard tasting section of the festival was also fairly impressive. Besides the mustard and cheese pairings, they had many small mustard makers display their sauces. If you didn't know, the pretzel stick is the preferred means to taste a mustard. I ended up purchasing two different types of mustard. I got a Hawkwind Heat mustard that is made with four different peppers that has a hot start but a sweet aftertaste. I also got a Dave's Gourmet Hurtin' Habanero & Honey mustard which Dr. Mustard himself recommended after hearing my mustard profile.

Would you guess that Plochman's or French's mustard is older? Turns out that Plochman's originated as Premium Mustard Mills in Chicago in 1852. French's mustard didn't appear until it was debuted at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. To learn a lot more about mustard than you probably expected click here. Now mustard is simply vinegar and mustard seed, but in order to get that distinct yellow mustard manufacturers actually use turmeric.

This was an excellent festival, and well worth the drive and effort. Although the festival really only spanned a couple of blocks. it was jampacked with mustard related activities. It seems that the largest mustard festival is actually held in Napa Valley. Yet, I couldn't help but feel the charm of Mt. Horeb, and the passion of the local mustard enthusiasts. There is no real true reason as to why this festival and the museum are in Wisconsin, except that Dr. Mustard lives there. Unfortunately the museum is moving about 10 minutes north to Middleton, WI next year and there is no word yet as to where the next mustard festival will be held.

I know that catsup won a recent poll on this site for best condiment, but I am a mustard man. I don't think I am as passionate as this mustard packet collector, but I definitely know my brown from my dijon. For a fun game for the kids click the packet collector link and try to find the Jack in the Box packet, or a waving hot dog. Well I am off to get some Mcdonald's breakfast, and yes there will be mustard on my hash brown. And finally one of the most popular mustard commercials of all-time, Grey Poupon.


  1. Sounds like the Mustard Fesitval was the best yet. I am quite intrigued by this butter burger and the habenero mustard. Good read buddy...


  2. Nice post, as usual! How could you leave out that dynamic duo that was performing on the kiddy stage, who failed to deliver on the "Mustard Song"?

  3. Thanks John, yes it was a solid gold festival. Imron as disappointed as I was to not hear the Mustard Song the duo played not only acoustic rock, but "good" acoustic rock. The festival was definitely more fun with family.