Mostarda di Cremona Frutta Mista is an unusual specialty originating in Cremona, in the Lombardia region of Italy.
Traditional Mostarda is a mixture of whole fruits in simple syrup and mustard oil. Its origin goes back to the honey, mustard, oil, and vinegar condiments of the Roman Empire most likely originating from the need to preserve fruit.
While it has the taste and sweetness of citrus fruits, Mostarda also contains mustard oil, which accounts for its “kick”.
This Mostarda contains citrus strips and has a sweet, yet slightly spicy twist.
It is traditionally served with a variety of foods such as cold boiled meats, hams, and pork loin, roasted turkey, leg of lamb, cheeses, and game.
Used much the same way as chutney.
Mostarda di Cremona origins
Cremonesi invented their Mostarda in the 14th Century and then called it mosto ardente, or ardent must because they made it with grape must and ground mustard seed.
They used this aromatic mixture to preserve fruit for long periods of time. Eventually, the fruit preserved in this manner came to be known as Mostarda.
Albeit the origins of Mostarda go back to the 14th Century, its use spread only in the mid 17th Century, especially among farmers in Northern Italy.
The one made in Cremona uses fruit, mustard essence, sugar, and whole candied fruit. It is the most typical of all Italian Mostardas. They serve it traditionally with Bollito misto di Carne, a variety of boiled meats.
There are also other kinds of Mostarda. The Venetian Mostarda is made with chopped fruits and used as an accompaniment for Panettone and Pandoro. The Mostarda of Parma, less known than its kin, but is equally delicious. This latter kind of Mostarda includes pumpkin, mustard oil, white-fleshed watermelon, apples, pera cotogna (pear-shaped quince), and lemon juice. This is the perfect match for cheeses and boiled meats.
In Lombardy, other than the Mostarda of Cremona, we must deserve to mention the one from Mantua also. The older one of the two, this Mostarda is the main ingredient of Mantua’s delicious specialty: pumpkin Tortelli. They make it with quince, mustard oil, and sugar.