From Colman’s to Montys’: a new face for Norfolk mustard
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
Colman's may be closing next year, but this Norfolk mustard brand is growing.
There were ripples of despair across the east last week as Unilever confirmed the closure in 2019 of the Colman's mustard factory in Norwich.
It's the end of a 160-year-long era.
But fear not mustard lovers, as there's another, growing Norfolk brand to get your kicks from.
Montys' was launched a year ago by Sarah Savage of Essence Foods, taking on and rebranding some of the products formerly produced by Jubberwacky, and bringing new mustards into the fold, with eight now in the line-up.
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The condiments (all very different in taste and heat) are made in a dedicated 'mustard kitchen' at Sarah's farm base in Salle using golden, nutty rapeseed oils from Crush Foods a mile own the road, and Yare Valley Oils, as well as Suffolk-made Aspall Cyder Vinegar.
Sarah says there's something for everyone in the Montys' range, and insists good mustard is about a rounded flavour, not sinus-searing heat.
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'We started with a smooth mustard, Bandersnatch, and three wholegrain mustards – including one with Norfolk ale and one with cumin, and we've added our own English mustard, Taverners, which is like a cross between Dijon and English but you don't get an intense burn. It's fairly hot but also very flavoursome and delicious. We've got a Christmas mustard with porter and Port, and also a Black Beauty mustard made with beetroot, dark rum, Port and black mustard seeds. It's got a wasabi style heat and is very popular.
'The four we've added in are quite different and we've got another couple we're looking to add to the range too.'
A favourite of Sarah's is the Taverner's All Day Mustard. 'It's our best-selling smooth mustard and goes well with breakfast onwards. It just goes with so many things, like straight in a cheese sandwich.
'Black Beauty has an amazing deep colour and has proved a hit too. Its flavour and heat is great with Japanese style food and fish, but it also really sorts out a burger, and I like it with goats' cheese.'
In fact, she adds, its versatility that's at the heart of the Montys' brand. Mustard isn't something to be used once then relegated to the back of the fridge with sticky jars of pickles and jams, it's got a place in the kitchen in all kinds of dishes, from scones and savoury bakes, to stews, braises and pies.
And the foodie is excited about what the future holds, with plans to grow mustard from scratch with farmers right on her doorstep.
'We're hoping to get started in March,' Sarah revealed. 'Because the farm where we're based is a contract farm they always said 'if you want anything grown let us know'. When I asked if we can grow mustard they were delighted. We're trying to identify a couple of fields and have been looking into feasibility and where we can dry it.
'It's much better for us to be able to use a product grown 500 yards from the kitchen we make the mustard in – and that's literally how far it would be. The land's across the farmyard so we'd watch it growing!'
You can buy Montys' mustards at the Essence Foods websites as well as in numerous shops across Norfolk such as Scrummy Pig at Wroxham.