By Beverly Stephen
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Some people are chocoholics. Others can’t live without crunchy cheese crackers. Chef Nicolas Bour has a thing for mustard. He spent a lot of his formative years in France, which goes a long way toward explaining his fixation. But we don’t know of anyone else who frequented Boutique Maille in Paris who has tried to imitate it in the United States.
Bour spared no time or expense in figuring out how to offer house-made mustard on tap at the charcuterie station in Avant, the new casual restaurant that recently replaced El Bizcocho, at the Rancho Bernardo Inn. His two taps almost broke the bank at $10,000. He offers two varieties of mustard daily—one standard, the other rotating flavors such as tarragon, black truffle, horseradish, etc. He imports the mustard seeds from France, mixes them with Evian water, vinegar, verjus, and a pinch of sugar and piment d’Espelette. In addition to using the mustard as an accompaniment to charcuterie, he uses it in dishes such as rabbit with mustard sauce, steamed mussels, vinaigrettes, and deviled eggs with unusual toppings.
Bour’s mustard is for sale at the restaurant and will soon be distributed at retail stores in Southern California. And he says, “Someday I hope to have my own mustard company.”