On the day of the judging, roughly 60 individuals showed up to taste and score mustards for the preliminary round of championship judging. Our very own Greg Long and Erin Ellison were among the lucky participants!
|This was the most popular judging strategy: the spoon starburst.|
The mustard categories were as follows: SWEET-HOT, HONEY MUSTARD, CLASSIC DIJON (SMOOTH), WHOLE GRAIN/COARSE GRAINED, CLASSIC HOT, PEPPER HOT, HORSERADISH/WASABI, HERB/VEGET ABLE, GARLIC, FRUIT, SPIRIT, AMERICAN YELLOW, DELI/BROWN, EXOTIC, MUSTARD BASED SALAD DRESSINGS, and MUSTARD BASED BBQ SAUCES, GLAZES, OR MARINADES. Erin and Greg were in the group of judges who sampled coarse mustards (a great category because of the wide variety of flavors and textures), and the ill-fated hot mustard category.
The coarse mustard category was so expansive that there were nearly 40 entries to be scored. All mustards were presented on a platter in small plastic containers. Each container was labeled with an anonymous post-it label for impartial judging; however, if a participant was really curious about a particular entry, the "mustard grand master" would divulge the name of a mustard after that category had been judged. Some competing entries were even available for purchase in the museum gift shop. Most judges started out the afternoon feeling pretty enthusiastic about mustard. But by the end of the day, the thought of bringing home a jar of mustard (or even consuming the condiment in the coming week) was off-putting. If there's such a thing as a mustard overdose, Erin and Greg certainly experienced it.
Most of the hot mustards hailed from Asia and were insanely spicy. After a few samples from this category, members in the judging cohort began sweating and chugging water like it was going out of style. All sinus cavities were cleared out after this round of judging! The hot mustards are not for the faint of heart.
The final round of mustard judging will wrap up at the Milwaukee Public Market in Milwaukee, WI. If you have any interest in being a judge for the 2014 World-Wide Mustard Competition, please apply through the National Mustard Museum's website.