History / Traditions / Interesting Facts
Mostarda is deep-rooted in Mantuan culinary tradition. It was initially considered as a luxury product: it first appears in Gonzaga documents, evidence that this preparation was appreciated by the lords of Mantua. In those days the apothecaries – basically proto-pharmacists – were responsible for the preparation of this delicacy, which, together with marmalades and jams, was preserved in earthen glass or ceramic jars.
With the increased availability of sugar and mustard, mostarda eventually lost its exclusiveness and became a more widely used condiment.
The term mostarda, which denotes a spicy jam, derives from the Latin mustum ardens, a spicy preparation made from crushed mustard seeds.
In fact, mustard is called moutarde in French, a term derived from the same Latin root.
Mustard is a plant native to Asia, where it grew wild. It is believed to have been cultivated for the first time in 3000 BC in India and then exported to the West as a precious spice. It was certainly known to the Romans, who used it in various preparations.