On Saturday, April 28th, foodies and hungry North Brooklynites descended upon T.B.D.’s beer garden for the first annual Brooklyn Mustard Festival. Attendees sampled local versions of the common condiment with drinks, pretzels, hot dogs and even fish.
Organizers and Greenpoint residents Emily Deason and Dominick Talavacchio were surprised to be the first to plant the seed for such an event in Brooklyn. “There’s a rich history of mustard in New York, going all the way back to the Dutch,” said Deason. “And we’re excited to see a growing interest in it.”
Neither could think of a better place to spread the good word about their favorite sauce. “We chose Greenpoint because it’s low-key and neighborhood-oriented,” said Talavacchio. “So it’s a great place to showcase smaller and mostly local producers for whom mustard is a labor of love and who really experiment with it.”
Vendors happily shared the couple’s obsession. Styles ranged from the classic pungency of Dijon to the more exotic green peppercorn and spicy brown ale.
Shelsky’s Smoked Fish offered a mustard sauce with dill pickled herring. Though some people were initially wary of the combination, it turned out to be a big hit. Owner Peter Shelsky attributed the smoothness of the sauce to the right balance of sugar and vinegar.
Robert A. Schafer of Divine Brine was on hand to dole out spicy dills and pickles that had some patrons on their knees. “This is out of control!” said Sean Smyth of the honey hot bread and butters pickles. “I mean this should be illegal!” Another favorite treat was the caponata, a Sicilian egg plant stew that fishermen eat from buckets at sea.
Bauer’s, which recently located from Ridgewood to Hempstead, still makes pure and horseradish mustard the way it did 100 years ago – with the best ingredients it can find. “It’s all about using natural products,” said company president Bart Druery. “We don’t put anything in that doesn’t belong there.”
Anna Wolf started My Friend’s Mustard by trying out an online recipe she ended up hating. “I kept on tweaking it until I ended up with something my friends liked!” said Wolf. The result: mustardsmade from six point ale, rye ale and jalapeno IPA.
Other brands up for tasting included D. P. Chutney (pickled fruit), West Country Kitchens, Tin Mustard, and Hudson Valley Homestead. Homestead’s Green Peppercorn Mustard was a particular favorite, its atypical pepper-based taste countering more common herb-based flavors.
But what’s mustard without your favorite snacks? Tom Mylan, co-owner of The Meat Hook (100 Frost Street), rolled up his sleeves and grilled some hot dogs and sausages, while Sigmunds sold out an assortment of locally baked pretzels that came in garlic parsley and jalapeno cheddar.
For additional information about the festival and its vendors, visit the Brooklyn Mustard Festival on Facebook.