by Kate Heyhoe
In honor of the Napa Valley Mustard Festival, now in full swing, I thought it appropriate to share some mustard recipes and tips from Michele Anna Jordan's excellent book The Good Cook's Book of Mustard. Even if you can't be in Napa, why not have a mustard-tasting in your house to celebrate? Michele shows you how, and she presents recipes for both making and using mustard, including:
But if you are fortunate enough to be in Napa during the mustard-blooming season, when the hills turn a brilliant yellow, here's a schedule of events below. Be sure to look for Michele when you're there—she not only lives in the area but she broadcasts a weekly radio show there too.
("Madame Mustard" © 1998, Jessel Miller)
This article is from 1998 and much of the festival info below is dated. It has been left here for archival purposes only.
For current information, visit the festival homepage at www.mustardfestival.org.
The rich, diverse, scenic agricultural and cultural bounty of Napa Valley are hallmarks of the Napa Valley Mustard Festival. This two month season of sensational events has the most brilliant of all backdrops: Fields, vineyards, and hillsides ablaze with the gold of wild mustard in bloom.
(photo by John Wagner, 1996 Mustard Festival 1st Place Winner)
Festival events offering a full palette of food, wine, art, and cultural activities will be staged throughout the world-renowned grape growing region from January 31 through March 28 of 1998.
A central and ever present component of the two month celebration, in addition to mustard in bloom, is mustard the condiment: Mustard in every course of gourmet winemaker dinners; mustard tasting at a multitude of events; a world-wide mustard competition culminating with an awards ceremony, a chef's mustard recipe competition, and the festival's signature event in mid-March.
Events provide a chance to experience the beauty of Napa Valley's golden season; sample superb fare and sumptuous wine; enjoy luxurious stays in beautiful wine country communities; and rub elbows with local celebrities. If El Nino brings rain, don your yellow slickers and umbrellas for a season of great fun in the wine country.
Take the Magical Mustard Mystery Tour, a complimentary "insider's tour" with Gail Chablis, general manager of Inside Napa Valley, and surprise guests, on February 14 or March 14. The first 27 visitors to arrive at the Napa Valley Conference and Visitors Bureau will board a tour bus for the noon to 4 p.m. personalized tour of wineries, and will each receive a goodie bag filled with discount coupons and special offers from a variety of Napa Valley retailers, restaurants, and wineries. For more information call Gail Chablis at 707-256-2253.
Treat your sweetheart to an evening of Truffles and Treasures at Codorniu Napa, one of the most striking and romantic architectural gems on the West Coast. The sparkling wine facility will host a Valentine's Day auction and dinner to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Napa Valley on Saturday, February 14. Bid on fine wine, travel packages, and sports memorabilia, and dance until the wee hours. Wine tasting will commence at 5:30 p.m.; dinner by Michel Cornu, Executive Culinary Director of Far Niente Winery at 7 p.m; the live auction at 8 p.m. Call 707-255-8866 for reservations at $125 per person.
Claim ownership of some of Napa Valley's most prominent wineries and restaurants with a mere roll of the dice—ownership in the fantastic world of Monopoly, that is. Napa Valley now has its own unique version. The Napa Valley Edition of the Monopoly Game will preview at an exciting benefit event on Friday, February 20, 7 p.m. at Robert Mondavi Winery. Wonderful food, wine, prizes, silent and live auctions will compliment the exuberant evening sponsored by USAOpoly to celebrate release of the game. The Napa Valley Mustard Festival will contribute 70% of proceeds to "Yes on Measure A," for county-wide flood protection. Tickets are available through the Napa Valley Mustard Festival at $45 per person. Ticket purchases are not deductible as a charitable contribution. Call 707-259-9020.
Sleuth, shop, and gather clues from St. Helena merchants and costumed characters, as you unravel the Mustard Street Mystery on Saturday, February 21, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Taste wine and hors d'oeuvres, and enjoy music at The Wake when the culprit is finally revealed. Solve the crime and win a $1,000 shopping spree. Dress as a famous detective to win fabulous prizes. Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 the day of the event. Call 707-963-4456 for more information.
Enjoy hot jazz and cool blues in Calistoga restaurants, pubs, galleries, and spas at Yellows, Blues & All That Jazz. You will be surrounded by famed cuisine, great wine, and wonderful art on February 22, from noon until 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person. Proceeds will benefit music in the schools. Call 707-942-6333 or 707-942-4235 for more information.
Return to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone to acquire fine wines, travel packages, and much more at Sun and Stars, a benefit for the Montessori Family Center on Saturday, March 7, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Enjoy wonderful wines, a sumptuous buffet, excellent jazz, and irresistible silent and live auctions. Call 707-963-1614 for advance reservations at $50 general; $65 for reserved live auction seating.
Taste world class mustard dishes at the Napa Valley Mustard Festival World-Wide Mustard Competition Awards Ceremony & Chef of the Year Mustard Recipe Competition on Friday, March 13 at 7 p.m., as chefs compete for the title "Napa Valley Mustard Festival Chef of the Year," and mustard companies from around the world receive kudos and awards. Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery, the historic Inglenook Chateau renovated and transformed by Francis Ford Coppola, will provide an elegant, dramatic setting for this spectacular indulgence of the senses. Limited tickets at $75 per person in advance; $100 at the door are available by calling 707-259-9020.
Celebrate the season at The Marketplace, the Napa Valley Mustard Festival's signature event, on Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Napa Valley Exposition in Napa, California. Taste mustards from around the world, wine country gourmet products, fine Napa Valley foods, wines, and craft brews; browse through fine art and exquisite crafts for gourmet cooks and wine lovers; enjoy cooking demonstrations; attend jazz and world music concerts; take a horse-drawn carriage ride; discover the culture of Napa Valley today and yesterday. Admission is $7 per adult; $2 for children 12 and under. Proceeds benefit Napa Valley non-profit art, historical, and educational organizations. 707-259-9020 or 707-546-BASS.
Photograph the beauty of the season and enter the fifth annual Napa Valley Mustard Festival Photography Contest. The deadline for entry is March 20 and 21. Call 707-259-9020 for guidelines.
Sample everything for a song at A Taste of Yountville, a mile long tasting in the per-capita-gourmet-capital of the United States on Saturday and Sunday, March 21 and 22. Food, wine, music, demonstrations, entertainment, and more! 800-4 YOUNT(VILLE).
Don't miss The Photo Finish, the wildly exuberant grand finale event on Saturday, March 28, 7 p.m. at picture perfect Mumm Napa Valley. View the season's beauty captured by photographers and bid on winning entries; sample a delectable variety of hors d'oeuvres, desserts and wine; revel in the celebration; dance; and win prizes. One lucky Mustard Festival supporter will win the Trip for Two to France drawing prize. Tickets to The Photo Finish are $45 per person in advance; $55 at the door. 707-259-9020 or 707-546-BASS.
In addition to a multitude of community and benefit events, the mustard season is host to numerous pairing and tasting events presented by Napa Valley Mustard Festival sponsors. Taste the local craft brews of Mt. St. Helena Brewing Company paired with regional cuisine at the Brewmaster's Supper at Characters Sports Bar and Grill (at the Napa Valley Marriott) on Friday, February 6 at 7 p.m. For more information call 707-254-3343.
Sample an array of mustards and local gourmet products at the ever-popular Cravings Creations in the charming courtyard of Vintage 1870 in Yountville on February 14 and 15. For more information call 707-944-8100.
Reserve early for the third annual Napa Valley Grille/Grgich Hills Winemaker Dinner on February 26 at 7 p.m. Executive Chef Bob Hurley will once again pair a savory mustard menu with world-renowned wines by Grgich Hills. Chef Hurley and famed winemaker Mijenko Grgich will host the event. For more information and reservations at $75 per person call 707-944-8686.
Visit Napa Town Center on Saturday, March 7, beginning at noon, for On the Town, an afternoon of Pizza, Pasta, Pinot Noir, and Pizzazz. For more information call 707-253-9282.
All aboard Napa Valley Wine Train, recently voted "Tops for Fun" in Napa Valley by readers of Gourmet Magazine, for a season of activities to please every palate: Regional Cuisine Luncheons will be held on February 6, 13, 20 and 27; Family Fun Nights on February 6 and March 6; Saturday Winemaker Dinner Series on February 7, 21 and 28. March 7, 14, 21 and 28; Karaoke Nights on February 8 and March 15; Sweetheart Serenade Dinners on February 13, 14 and 15; Murder Mystery Dinners on February 20 and March 20; Concert and Dinner Series on February 22 and March 22; Winemaker Dome Dinners on February 27 and March 27; and Vintners Dome Luncheons on March 6, 13, 20 and 27. For more information and reservations call 800-427-4124.
With three outstanding sporting events in which to partake, the mustard season offers something for everyone. Race in the Sutter Home Napa Valley Marathon: The Sports and Fitness Expo will be held at the Napa Valley Marriott on February 28; the race on the Silverado Trail from Calistoga to Napa on March 1. For more information call 707-255-2609.
Play golf on greens surrounded by vineyards ablaze with mustard at Chardonnay Golf Club's fifth annual Napa Valley Mustard Festival Golf Benefit on Monday, March 23, at $125 per person, $250 per team. Win a Mercedes-Benz for a hole-in-one; or a case of Mumm Cuvée Brut Prestige for the longest drive. 707-257-1900.
Join thousands of mountain biking enthusiasts at Skyline Park in Napa, Friday, March 27 through Sunday, March 29 for the Napa Valley Grundig/UCI World Cup Opener. For more information call 650-306-1414.
Become a Napa Valley Mustard Festival Patron for $200 per person and receive a ticket to Mustard Magic, The Photo Finish, World-Wide Mustard Competition Awards Ceremony & Chef of the Year Mustard Recipe Competition, The Marketplace, entry in the Napa Valley Mustard Festival Trip for Two to France Drawing, and a signed Madame Mustard poster. Call 707-259-9020 to order by mail. Visit the festival homepage at www.mustardfestival.org.
The Napa Valley Mustard Festival is a non-profit community service organization. Proceeds from events—Mustard Magic, World-Wide Mustard Competition Awards Ceremony & Chef of the Year Mustard Recipe Competition, The Marketplace, and The Photo Finish—fund art and photography contests and awards, promote benefit events throughout the season, and benefit a variety of non-profit organizations. Ticket purchases are not deductible as a charitable contribution.
This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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