Just like in the fashion world, condiments serve as essential accessories. The epitome of a delicious paradox! Condiments include seasonings, like herbs and spices, and sauces that are a part of the dish, such as tomato sauce on pizza. Condiments can also be served on the table next to the guest's plate. Each person can use as much as they want, customize their dish, and adjust the flavor even after the cook has hung up their apron. Condiments, whether American ketchup, Indian chutneys, or the wasabi and soy sauce used in Asian cuisine, are a kind of simple and down-to-earth comfort food. France has its own versions as well. Where would fries be without mayo, or sausage without mustard, or charcuterie without the key ingredient for any self-respecting sandwich—cornichons?
A tradition in jeopardy
However, this culinary heritage has recently come under threat. Take mustard, for example. It was once made in Paris, Meaux, and wine-producing regions like Burgundy and Dijon, which even turned it into one of their specialties. However, "Dijon mustard" isn't a label connected to a specific terroir. It's actually a recipe. That means it can be made anywhere. PGI Burgundy mustard is now the only type that is guaranteed to be produced in France using solely French ingredients.
Cornichons are also unique to France. Unlike the larger, softer varieties favored in other countries, these pickles are small and crunchy. However, due to a lack of labor and market opportunities, cornichon production in France is decreasing. Recently, a dozen farmers decided to start growing cornichons again, much to the delight of fans of high-quality produce. As for mayonnaise, which the French claim to have invented, the recipe is often altered. Adding mustard to this emulsion made from oil and raw egg yolk is a recent and unorthodox change. Beware of imitations!