This is the second mustard we’re reviewing from ZestFest, courtesy of the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum. Unlike the one we previously reviewed which had a habanero kick to it, this one’s heavy on the horseradish. It’s even heavier on great flavor, which we will go into further below.
An interesting sidebar about horseradish, and how its “heat” is different than that of capsaicin. Horseradish has been described as a “flavor heat” rather than a “hot heat” that chiles provide. Horseradish is botanically-known as Armoracia lapathifolia and A. rusticana, and is believed to be native to Russia or Hungary. It is related to the mustard family, hence its biting flavor and aroma. It is the volatile mustard-like oil in horseradish that brings tears to the eyes and heat to the tongue. One of the main chemicals in horseradish, the pungent allyl isothiocyanate, is not heat resistant; therefore, horseradish is only seldom used for warm foods and then added immediately before serving. Heat eliminates both aroma and zing which is why true horseradish afficionados prefer horseradish raw and freshly grated. This is one main reason why you have to keep this mustard refrigerated if you want to maintain the horseradish heat, zing, and flavor.
From the Mustard Museum website, this is what they have to say about this mustard:
First place winner (best Mustard and best Horseradish Product) at the 2006 Fiery Foods Challenge. This is the strongest horseradish mustard you will ever taste! Be careful!
First impression: The Hit & Run comes in a fairly small container, but one whiff gives you the notion that a little of this stuff goes a long way. It is a little bit of a lighter brown than some commercially-available mustards, and appears to be slightly grainy in texture. Did I mention the horseradish smell? Several nostril hairs were tragically lost due to the wafting odors of this mustard. Yikes!
Taste: I sampled a heaping sample-spoonful of this (like 1/10 of an ounce at most) and was really diggin’ the taste when the horseradish heat hit me like a freight train, and I thought my eyeballs were going to melt. Potency, thy name is mustard! It has a great straightforward mustard taste with an overwhelming amount of horseradish in it. Every place on my tongue tingled that this mustard touched, and it absolutely zapped every one of my tastebuds that it encountered. It’s definitely a different sort of heat, but one that is quite pleasurable once you get used to it.
What foods I liked it with: Despite its strength, this mustard can have some surprising utility. As with most mustards, I gave it ample opportunity on different sandwiches, spreading it a little thicker with each one to see exactly how much I could tolerate before my brains started to leak out of my nose. I also mixed it with a couple of other condiments, like mayo and salad dressing, and they became awesomely horseradish-ly laden in the process. Honestly, I just used it like any other mustard might be used…just in carefully controlled amounts. I just bet it would be great on gefilte fish, too!
Ingredients: Distilled vinegar, water, mustard seed, horseradish, salt, soybean oil, oil of mustard
Overall recommendation: This mustard’s label dubs this as “excruciatingly painful,” and it sure can be if you are not careful with it during your dining/tasting. The fact is that this mustard tastes pretty darn good, regardless of the horseradish in it. If you’re a chilehead looking for an entirely different kind of “burn,” you just gotta get yourself a jar of this mustard. Aside from chomping on freshly grated horesradish root (which I don’t recommend, btw), you’re not going to find much fresher tasting horseradish in a condiment than this mustard. We all know those people who say they can handle any level of heat, even red savina habaneros …so give them a tablespoon of this and watch ‘em squirm. We are still experimenting using this mustard in different foods, and we encourage you to do the same. It might just clear your sinuses in the process.