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Sep 5, 2008 05:54 PM

ISO Mostarda Bolognese di frutta recipe

Does anyone have a recipe for the Bolognese version of Italian fruit mustards (not what we call mustard, but originally fruit preserved in mosto, which is unfermented grape juice that has been reduced to a syrup)? The only recipes I've found have been for the Cremonese and Venetian and Dalmatian versions, which are all different from the Bologna version. Uncle Phaedrus, the recipe sleuth, has not found a recipe, and my recent e-mail to a contact in Italy has not turned up anything.

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  1. The only one that I can find that is not identified by region is Mostarda d'Uva. Any help?

    1. Hope someone comes up with one, I had a few recipes I think from Tuscany which I could try to dig up. I bought the mustard oil called for but that was as far as I got. I want to make a fig mostardo myself. I bought a tiny jar at Citarella, I mean really tiny and it was $7, so making it would be a good idea.

      6 Replies
      1. re: coll

        I wrote to a monastery of my order in Bologna and have not had a reply. John Thorne was good enough to point in the direction of a book by Simonetta Lupi which I found for $1.48 on Abebooks and have ordered. And on line I found a few mostarda di frutta recipes, but none of them the Bolognese version. I don't like the version from Cremona, which reminds me of candied fruit suspended in shellac. Mostarda di fica is also relatively easy to find on line. If I close this out and look for it, I'll lose the post. But over the next few days I hope to post some links for the Tuscan, uva, and fig versions. The original meaning of a mostarda was simply fruit preserved in mosta (unfermented grape juice) that had been reduced to a thick syrup. Marmalade was simply the same thing, but the fruit was quince (marmelo in Portuguese). But many of these preserves contained added spices, including "senape" or ground mustard seed, ginger, cinammon, pepper or whatever, and also some vinegar. So there is a wide range of types of fruit mustards. Stay tuned. I'll report on what I turn up.

        1. re: Father Kitchen

          More: a blogspot called posts recipes for mostarda di fica and cugna (mostarda d'uva) in several languages. Check and There is also a basic fruit mustard at More to come when I get time to dig up another misplaced reference for a Tuscan mostarda.

          1. re: Father Kitchen

            There are some posters who are in/from Italy. Maybe you should post a duplicate request on the Italy board where they would see it. And give a little time for some responses. You really came up with a head scratcher this time.

            1. re: Father Kitchen

              For some reason, both links say they don't exist anymore but maybe it's my computer. I found my scribbled notes, just a list of ingredients, I think I did try to make it without the mustard oil and it was like making jelly.

              2 cups sugar
              3 Tbsp dry mustard
              1 tsp mustard oil
              2 Tbsp mustard seed
              salt and pepper
              1 lb figs
              (you can add cranberries or dried cherries too)
              ver jus (which is probably supposed to be mosta, and I have an unopened bottle on hand)

              That's it, but it's a start anyway. This is going on my Thanksgiving menu I think, so thanks for the reminder. I'll be waiting for your recipes!

              1. re: coll

                whatever it is, its sounds interesting.

                Two questions: is the mustard oil the same stuff you use in Indian cooking that comes labelled as something to massage with?

                And are the figs fresh or dried?


                1. re: jenn

                  Yes it's that mustard oil, complete with warning not to eat on the bottle.
                  I used fresh figs but most recipes seem to call for dried. So I guess either one works.

        2. Mostarda di Frutta

          4 dried figs, cut into 1/2inch cubes
          1 slightly unripe pear, peeled and cut into 1/2inch cubes
          1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into 1/2inch cubes
          1/2 cup dried cherries
          1/ cup dried apples, cut into 1/4 " dice
          11/2 cups sugar
          11/2 cups dry red wine
          1/2 cup prepared mustard
          1/4 cup mustard seeds
          Place figs, pear, apricots, cherries, and apples into a mixing bowl and stir to mix. In a saucepan, heat sugar and wine together until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in mustard and seeds. Pour over fruit and allow to steep 24 hours. Jar and refrigerate.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jdm

            Thanks, JDM. It looks like an interesting recipe and I would like to try it. But it is not quite what I have been looking for. The Bolognese version is described in the Italian Wikipedia as a "sour marmalade made from prunes, pears, quinces, oranges, and sugar." Note, no mention is made of senape or what we call mustard. The word mustard, in fact, is derived from "mustum" or unfermented grape juice, which was boiled down into a syrup in which fruit was conserved. Since many of these conserves contained ground mustard seeds (senape in Italian) the word mustard eventually was applied to the seeds and the plant from which it came. (I cooked mustard greens for supper tonight.) Marmelade in Italian refers to the whole class of preserves, but most often means simply jam, and that is what the consistency of the Bologna mostarda is most like, or maybe something between a jam and a fruit butter. Like plum butter in Slavonic cooking, it is often used to fill pasta and cookies. One of my problems is that the "sour" or "asprigno" in the definition could be derived from different sources. The most logical is to presume it comes from a sour orange like the Seville or Bergamot orange. It may or may not include zest. Zest in Scot marmelades imparts some of the pleasantly bitter kick. In fact, I wonder if asprigno might actually mean bitter. My dictionary isn't all that good, and the root involved, "aspro" actually means "harsh." So one may call it a sort-of-harsh jam, lacking a good food dictionary. Italian cuisine is exceptional in its use of bitter flavors--as in Campari or Angostura bitters. I see you are in Berkeley. Maybe the famous Italian grocer in Oakland--Ratso, I think the name is--has some for sale. I'll check Litteri in D.C. U.S. labeling of ingredients ought to let us know if it contains wine or mustard oil or mustard powder. The brand "Conserve della Nonna" makes it, but that doesn't guarantee that it is "authentic." And, of course, asprigno could be derived from wine or mustard oil. So I'll keep searching, but I appreciate the input and the good recipe. Now all I have to find is a good source of unsweetened dried cherries.

            1. re: Father Kitchen

              Ratto's does not sell it. Most Italian groceries, around here anyway, only sell Mostarda di Frutta during the holidays.
              If you are in DC, you might give Trinacria in Baltimore a call. It has been twenty years since I lived there, but they used to sell all sorts of rather obscure delicacies.

              1. re: jdm

                Thanks for the lead. I'd never heard of Trinacria.

              2. re: Father Kitchen

                Gosh, you've been busy! Conserve della Nonna mostarda bolognese was widely available in Bologna when I was there. So were lots of more home made bottles. I think I tasted the CN version, which was actually quite good.

                Your earlier post jotted a memory. I've seen some mostarda bolognese with figs as an ingredient. Not a classic addition, I assume, but the real stuff used to remind me vaguely of fig newton filling, albeit looser - that same sort of dark, fruity (rather than very sweet) flavour. So don't discount recipes including figs out of hand...

            2. I have a feeling this link is on your thread already somewhere, but it has a discussion of the derivation of the term mostarda which is interesting (and implies inclusion of the mustard component) as well as a recipe of mostarda di carpi (a town north of Modena) which includes only must and fruit, not mustard seed or oil. This seems close to the descriptions I have seen of the mostarda bolognese.


              1. Father - You are ambitious!! Any luck? Any recipes for any other Italian preserves you care to share? I am beginning to delve into this interesting food experience of making them.

                5 Replies
                1. re: itryalot

                  Thanks for the encouragement. Actually, this all started with Gooseberry's mention of a quince. (I hope they come in soon in D.C.) I've spent some months looking for a good preserving pan; and, just as I was about to settle for an Ikea pot, a copper pan came up on E-Bay, which I was able to get for 49.50. And Simonetta Lupi's book is in the mail. By and large, I prefer French style preserves/conserves/jams. And I don't much care for the Italian mostarda di Cremona, which reminded me of candied fruit preserved in shellac. But I love chutneys, and the Bolognese version sounds like it is right down my alley. Jen Kalb's link above was one I had seen and wanted to go back and find. Thanks for searching it. And from the Italian web site, I did find a generic fruit mustard recipe which goes something like this (I am paraphrasing). Put about 3 liters of mosto (grape juice) in a pan with one and a half kilos of apples, preferable the renette variety, and some quince that is not overripe that has been cut into fine slices, together with a kilo of pears. Bring it to a boil and add the juice of two lemons, together with their zest cut into strips. Half way through cooking, when the fruit begins to turn to pulp, add a couple of glasses of Vin Santo, preferably aged. Cook for about three hours until it has reduced to the consistency of a normal jam and then add 30 grams of white mustard powder, a pinch of pepper, and a bit of crushed dried peppers, and then as much cinnamon as you like (a cucchiaino, which is a small sugar spoonful--I'd guess it would be about half a teaspoon). Let it simmer for a few more minutes to allow the spices to blend with the preserve. Then you can add toward the end, if you like, diced candied citron or orange peel. Before you close the jars, sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on top. This mustard can be used with all types of meat, especially pork, and with boiled and roasted meat and especially with red meat. (I think I need to find an Italian food dictionary.) Basically this version is like a chutney with wine added. I still hope to find a Bolognese recipe, but this one and the mostarda di carpi above would both be fun to try. But with my teaching and editing schedule, I won't have many opportunities to experiment. My turn at cooking was on Wednesday, and I don't come up for another few weeks.

                  1. re: Father Kitchen

                    So in the recipe from, do you think "mosto" is referring to plain—i.e., not yet reduced—fresh grape juice? Are rennet apples sort of tart? Any thoughts on a good substitute? I plan to try this as soon as I can find some quince.

                    1. re: Liana Krissoff

                      I believe they are refering to reinette apples, a French heritage varietal often called for in recipes.

                      1. re: Gooseberry

                        Yes, I've seen many references to rennet/reinette/rennette apples, but not much in the way of a description of what they actually taste like. And I've never seen them for sale, so I'm wondering about a substitute, and whether they have a high pectin content. I guess with the quince they wouldn't have to be especially pectin-y, so maybe it's a moot question.

                        1. re: Liana Krissoff

                          The only description of the rennet apple that I have seen on the net is "a rusty, slightly acidulous apple." Browning's apple book may have more information, and I'll look it up. I gave away my main apple reference when I left Washington State seven years ago. And the mosto of the Italian recipes is simply unfermented grape juice. It is reduced in the cooking process. I think I saw another recipe that reduced it to the consistency of a syrup first before adding fruit.