The elegant Maille boutique in Piccadilly was the setting for a thought provoking event with Olio, a relatively new app that aims to fight the shocking food waste our society is creating every day.
The app connects neighbours and shops to share surplus ingredients and food items. Basically, that old pack of rice lurking in your cupboard is better used by someone else than thrown away and wasted.
It’s a great concept, and Saasha Celestial-One, co-founder of Olio, explained how the app was born and how passionate the team behind it and the volunteers spreading the word are.
But why host the event in a mustard shop? Easy: mustard, with vinegar and salt, is one of the best preserving agents available. From pickling to pastes, using mustard can help turn left-over ingredients into exquisite results.
Maille (pronounced just like ‘my’), the famous French mustard brand, is most famous for creating the finest Dijon and wholegrain mustards. Founded in 1747 by Antoine Maille, who became the official Vinegar Maker and Distiller to the King of France, La Maison Maille has accumulated an extraordinary heritage of craftsmanship, creativity and innovation.
Inspired by traditional artisan methods and more than 270 years of expertise, the creators at Maille use high quality ingredients to create complex flavours that make meals memorable.
In the Piccadilly boutique there are some historical pieces too, including one of the brand’s first jars. During the evening we were also able to taste some of the wide variety of flavours available in the shop, particularly good we found the Coconut mustard, which reminded us of a Thai curry, and Dill & Lime which matches fish dishes particularly well.
Flavoursome, easy to use and very versatile, mustard is a cupboard essential to most kitchens but becomes even more precious when used for preserving vegetables and fruits that would have otherwise gone wasted.
Harry Lalousis, the world’s first and only mustard sommelier, talked us through the fascinating history of Maille mustard, giving us a few quirky anecdotes: who knew french mustard instead of english had to be eaten at royal courts to prevent guests from sweating and running their heavy make up?
Harry then told us how he experiments with any ingredient he finds left over to turn it into something else, as long as it is not wasted. With the help of mustard and vinegar, he showed us the multi purpose a watermelon can serve to: even its rind, pickled and made into a marmalade, becomes a delicious, inventive sweet condiment which we were lucky to try on the night as a topping to a mini cheesecake.
He also taught us how to make a pickled ‘ready made’ tzatziki dip to have in the fridge, mustard based of course; simply adding a spoonful of it to fresh yogurt makes the famous Greek dip readily available.
Again, we were able to try this out in some of the canapés served to the guests, accompanied by a mango cocktail made using not only prosecco but also a mustard mango vinegar which added a touch of acidity to the sweetness of the fresh fruit juice.
Overall, it was a great evening learning not only about mustard and pickling and preserving but also an eye opener towards food waste and how we can all make small steps to save our only planet. We’ve already joined Olio and are spreading the word!
Tzatziki Relish with Cucumber
1 cup of Maille chardonnay vinegar
1 teaspoon of Maille Dijon original mustard
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tsp. chopped fresh dill
Grate the cucumber into a strainer, cup the grated cucumber in your palms
and squeeze to release excess liquids, sprinkle with the sea and let sit for 5
Squeeze out again the excess liquid, place into a sterilised glass jar, mix the
vinegar with the mustard and add to the jar, add the garlic and dill. Seal and
place in fridge for 2 weeks.
After the 2 weeks, drain a tbsp. of the mixture and add to 100ml of strained
Greek yoghurt for a fresh tzatziki dip.
Tip: Keep the cucumber juice and use in a salad dressing
Serving suggestion: Serve pickled cucumber tzatziki with warm sourdough bread.