Mustard is one of the oldest and most commonly used spices. However, when you think of the condiment, the first image that comes to mind is probably the bright yellow mustard typically found next to the ketchup on the table at every ballpark and cookout. Yet, a wide variety of mustards are available, including Dijon. Although the two mustards both originate from the mustard plant, that is where most commonalities end, and the differences begin.
Regular or prepared mustard is most often a vivid shade of pure yellow. The color of Dijon mustard however, is literally pale in comparison, and is typically a light brownish color with a hint of yellow.
There is such a significant difference in the flavors of prepared and Dijon mustard that substituting one for the other is not typically recommended. Prepared mustard has a smooth and mild flavor, with a hint of a taste of vinegar. Dijon is also smooth and creamy, but in contrast to prepared mustard, is fairly strong in flavor, and can vary from tasting mild to very hot.
In order to be labeled as a Dijon, a mustard must meet the strict standards of a formula created more than 150 years ago in Dijon, France. It is produced by combining finely ground brown or black mustard seeds with an acidic liquid, such as vinegar or wine. It is then seasoned with salt and spices. Dijon is the type of mustard generally used in mustard sauces, salad dressings and mayonnaise. Prepared yellow mustard is made from powdered mustard mixed with seasonings, and a liquid such as water, vinegar, or even wine or beer. A milder yellow mustard is created by using white mustard seeds, and is flavored with sugar, vinegar, and tumeric.