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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 notievanlien.blogspot.com posts recipes for mostarda di fica and cugna (mostarda d'uva) in several languages. Check www.notievanlien.blogspot.com/2007/10... and www.notievanlien.blogspot.com/2007/11.... There is also a basic fruit mustard at www.recipes.epicurean.com/recipe/22858. 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 laricetteria.com, 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 laricetteria.com, 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.

                2. Progress report: Neither Litteri in DC nor Trincaria in Baltimore carry the Bolognese fruit mustard. But I did learn that the exclusive importers of "Le Conserve della Nonna" brand products is Italian Foods Inc. in Oakland, California. I sent them a message. We should soon know if the Bolognese mustard made by "Conserve della Nonna" is available anywhere in the U.S. Really, considering the frenzy for authentic foods in the U.S. and the growing interest in chutneys and salsas and the like, it is rather surprising that no one has introduced a vogue for fruit mustards.

                  1. Well folks, I got back from ministry today and found a reply from Italian Foods, Inc. Unfortunately, they have not imported the Conserve della Nonna for several years. To their knowledge, the only source is in Italy. So at this point I work on overseas connections and meanwhile start experimenting with the few recipes I have. I may not end up with the "authentic" Bolognese version, but I think we might put together a very decent fruit preserve. Now all I need is a few quinces and some time.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Father Kitchen

                      I think a trip to the Holy City is in order, don't you?
                      God bless your persistence!!!

                    2. I promised to give a progress report. Yesterday, finally, I began working toward a Bolognese-style mostarda based on the descriptions I had read. Since my time was limited, I decided to start with the quince and cook it in a mini crockpot until it was tender before adding other ingredients. The quinces I bought, which turned out to be what I think are called apple quinces, did not develop the deep flavor and color quinces I've used in the past. Still, I had a good start. I made the mistake, however, of using a Welch's concord grape concentrate for mosto, since I could not find any white grape juice concentrate. The concord flavor is overpowering. I let it stew with all the fruit and cool. I will reduce it further in a sauce pan. I think I will have something interesting, but not the Bolognese mostarda. The copy "Preserves" by Simonetta Lupi that I ordered finally arrived today. It has no fruit mustard recipe in it, to my disappointment, although it does have cotognata or "quince cheese." It is a very good book on putting fruits and vegetables up and contains a wide range of traditional Italian preserves and conserves. Unfortunately, very few Italian terms are used, so you may be looking for a well-known Italian preparation but have to find it by figuring it out from an English description, unlike many cookbooks that give you both the original term and the English equivalent. But at $1.00 for a used copy from Abebooks.com, it is still a very good buy.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: Father Kitchen

                        fyi last weekend I saw a french fruit product made with grape must and mustard seed (I think) at Fairway in Brooklyn, which must be a related product. There must have been many local variants of these traditional items in earlier times. so dont be too impatient.

                        1. re: Father Kitchen

                          Hmm. Maybe squeezing the grapes yourself would yield a milder juice? (Since you've got so much time on your hands . . . ) Or use unsweetened apple juice instead?

                          Thanks for the review of the Lupi book. I just ordered a copy myself—it sounds great.

                          1. re: Father Kitchen

                            Father, I kniow this is a very old thread, but...in my own search for Mostarda recipes, I have come accross several for Mostarda Bolognese (in Italian, of course!)...On the offchance you are still interested (or someone else certainly may be)...here they are:


                            Buon Appetito!

                            1. re: ChefARA

                              Well I certainly am, thanks for all the research.

                              1. re: ChefARA

                                Grazie tante! I looked at the four links above. The second doesn't actually have a recipe for mostarda bolognese. The first and fourth seem the most complete, in terms of procedures, but they are very different. The first is made from quinces and orange and sugar--no mention of mosto (grape juice). The fourth uses apples and pears and sugar and the juice of "black" grapes. It mentions that often the mostarda was made with whatever you had at hand.
                                My printer is acting up, and when I figure out what is wrong, I can print the versions out an paraphrase them, if anyone is interested. The basic procedure involves slow cooking and produces a fruit paste not unlike the original Portuguese quince marmalade. Interestingly, the first version has you steep the fruit and let it oxidize a bit and then cook and cool it three times before finally reducing the moisture further by spreading it out in a baking dish and leaving it in a low oven. The fourth version simply has you cook it slowly in a heavy pan to avoid caramelizing the sugars or remixing the fruit. If anyone is interested in further details, let me know. This is a project for fall, but maybe someone in the southern hemisphere has quinces or rennet apples at hand.

                                1. re: Father Kitchen

                                  I would love the translation, I tried to do a Bablefish but it made no sense at all. Mille grazie!

                                  1. re: coll

                                    Google Translate works pretty well.
                                    Even then the "pincers" thing was confusing. But "pinza" is a simple truit tart/pastry from that region so its possible to get by that.
                                    The main things I got out of the recipes is that this is a highly variable recipe maybe made differently depending on what preservation methods and fruits are available, and (2) its often made without the mustard oil for sweet applications and that the mustard oil must be used judiciously. I have to agree - we had great mostardas served in the region in restaurants but a couple of the "artisanal" commercial products Ive bought here have been totally unpalatable.

                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                      I finally got the printer to work.

                                      The first version goes like this. The ingredients are one kilo each of pear quinces, apple quinces, oranges, sugar, and some optional mustard essence. [I take this to mean different varieties of quince (they have different flavors and shapes) and mustard oil.] Steam the quinces whole for ten minutes to aid in removing the fuzz on the skin and to cut the fruit more easily. Grate the orange rind and squeeze the juice. Place the juice, the zest, and sugar in a heavy pot and add one or two glasses of water and dissolve well the sugar. Don't peel the cooked quinces but core them and cut them into small pieces and marinate them for 24 hours at room temperature in the orange mixture, stirring them from time to time. The fruit will oxidize and get quite dark. The next day, cook the fruit three times by boiling for no more than ten minutes and letting it cool completely between cookings. Pass the cooked fruit--which will be very dark--through a food mill and place the resulting "paste" in a shallow baking pan and cook at 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees--that is a warm oven) for about three hours until it reaches the density of marmalade. Once it is cooled, you can mix in 3 to 5 drops of mustard essence of mustard (mustard oil?) if you want to use it with meat. Bottle the finished mostarda and seal in a hot water bath.

                                      The third link gives the following recipe: Add about ten kilos of fruit to 19 or 20 liters of the juice of dark grapes. (I'd think wine grapes or juice from them which can be got in speciality stores would be indicated.) The fruit should be about 60% quinces and the rest pears and apples and the zest of an orange or lemon, preferably dried. Boil very gently (simmer?) until it reaches the right consistency--as long as two days. Bottle and sterilize.

                                      Link number four above gives the following procedure: 300 grams of black grapes, 450 grams of rennet apples, and 250 grams of Abbot Pears (an Italian variety that looks like an elongated anjou--I'd think any sweet, juicy European variety would do). Squeeze the grapes. Peel, core, and dice the apples and pears. (A step seems to be missing as nothing is said about what to do with the quinces!) Put the sugar in a pan with a heavy bottom and place the fruit on top of it. Place the pot on a medium flame and let it boil, without mixing the fruit. Take care not to let the sugar caramelize. Then boil the grape juice in a sauce pan, skimming off the foam as needed, and pour the boiling juice into the pan with the fruit and sugar, without mixing it. Boil on a slow fire (simmer?) until it reaches the desired consistency. Put it up in jars and sterilize them.

                                      I think the picture is pretty clear: a fruit mix that is mostly quinces with some lemon or orange zest and orange juice or grape juice gets cooked slowly with sugar into something thicker than apple butter. I can't wait for the fall to try it.

                                      All Recipes gives an apple butter recipe that is cooked in a crock pot. Using one might be a way to cook the mostarda slowly without having to worry about it burning.

                                      1. re: Father Kitchen

                                        Thanks so much! Now I have to figure out where to get quinces......I'll have my eye out for them. The commercial one I used to buy had figs in it, maybe my fig twig will take off and I can throw in a few too.

                                        1. re: Father Kitchen

                                          Greetings . . . I'm new here, and found this thread when searching for information on good sources of quinces in the SF Bay Area. I have a friend who runs a cooking school/retreat center out of her villa in Tuscany. She shared a wonderful recipe for the fruit and mustard sauce originally from Mantua, called, not surprisingly, Mostarda Mantovana. It is traditionally made using quinces, apples and pears (one or any combination or all three of those). This general method goes back to the early Renaissance.

                                          Here is how you make it:

                                          Peel, core and slice the fruit. Then weigh it. For every pound of prepared fruit, add a cup of sugar and toss it well. (I make it in batches of 2.5 pounds of fruit.)
                                          Cover and chill for twenty four hours.
                                          The next day, pour off the syrup that is formed and cook the syrup on the stove until reduced by half.
                                          Pour the hot syrup back over the fruit, cover and chill for another twenty four hours.
                                          Do the same thing the next day.
                                          On the fourth day, put the fruit and syrup in a wide, heavy pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until nearly all the liquid has evaporated.
                                          Add a few drops of mustard essence (not available in this country, as I'll explain later) or, for a batch made starting with 2.5 cups of prepared fruits, a tablespoon or more to taste of ground yellow mustard, which you've moistened with an equal amount of vinegar, white wine or lemon juice.
                                          Stir gently, and allow to cool completely.
                                          This can be vacuum sealed in sterilized jars for stable shelf storage as you would a fruit butter.

                                          I made it last fall using only pears, as I could not find quinces at any of the markets where I typically shop, plus I adore pears.

                                          I researched rather thoroughly the ingredient "mustard essence," and learned from a buyer at Formaggio Kitchen (in Cambridge, MA, and probably one of the largest importers of specialty ingredients from Italy) that the essence is actually a banned substance in the US, as it is a key component used in making mustard gas.

                                          Last fall, I put up four jars of it. We enjoyed quite a bit of it with leftover turkey during the holiday season. We ate the last jar in April, with a fabulous herb marinated/garlic crusted pork shoulder that had been roasted for about five hours at low heat.

                                          Anyway, I like the recipe so much that I jumped all over the early local (and nice and tart) apples that appeared for the first time at my favorite farmers' markets this weekend. I am on day two of my first batch this season. This recipe is so worth the four or five days it takes. (Like any condiment, it's better after a few days or weeks. This fall I plan to try out three or four different varieties, combining fruits and playing with some un-conventional spice combinations (ginger, cardamom, anise seed . . . . ) as well.

                                          Many thanks.

                                          1. re: giacomantonia

                                            Thanks for printing this out in its entirety, I am planning to make mostardo in the fall if I can find some quince (I have connections at Hunts Point so I have high hopes). This will help tremendously. I already bought mustard oil last year at the Oriental store so I planning on using that.