French mustard company Maille debuted their first New York City store in 2014, introducing the concept of the mustard sommelier. Now they've opened a second Flatiron location, which has become the company's flagship store in NYC. To take mustard enthusiasts on a deeper dive into the condiment, they've begun a series of mustard-making classes, where attendees design their own mustard blends.

Led by Mustard Sommelier Pierette Huttner, the classes are a quick one hour experience of flavor combinations and a lesson on the versatility of mustard. Students first sample mustard creations by Huttner, like porcini mushroom, dried shallot and fresh thyme and even sweet mustards like candied ginger, maple syrup and orange zest. Huttner then explains her Texture, Spices/Sweet, Fresh (TSF) method, an ingredient matrix she came up with to create well-balanced mustard blends. It's from this that students will then go about creating their own flavors.

050616ingredients.jpeg
(Nell Casey/Gothamist)

There's an abundance of different add-ins from which to choose, like black olive, fennel and walnuts for texture; citrus zest, tarragon and rosemary for freshness; cumin, saffron and smoked paprika for spice; and cinnamon, cocoa nibs and vanilla paste for sweet. Someone, like myself, for whom too many choices causes anxiety, should be prepared to be a bit overwhelmed.

Luckily, Huttner's a decisive and knowledgeable instructor, whose training in flavor profiles was helpful for guiding one to a good mustard at the press preview. She suggests keeping in mind the expected use for your mustard (marinade, cheese plate, condiment, etc.) then starting with one main ingredient you'd like to taste and then adding supporting players from there.

The store puts out a cheese and charcuterie spread, both for pre-class snacking and as vessels to test out your mustard creations. They also have wines supplied by Acker Merrall & Condit with which to pair the mustards and create a convivial atmosphere. At the end of the night, students take home their creations in Maille's signature stone pots, which can be refilled with one of their on-tap mustards when the proprietary flavor runs out.

Create Your Own Mustard classes at Maille's flagship store in the Flatiron (927 Broadway at 21st Street) and their original Lincoln Square location (185 Columbus Avenue) are $59, including a pre-class reception, the instruction, wine pairings and a jar of mustard.