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mostarda

Pronunciation: [moh-STAHR-dah; dee FROO-tah]

A condiment of various fruits (such as apricots, cherries, figs, oranges, peaches, pears and quince) preserved in a spicy-sweet mustard-flavored syrup. The fruit, which may be either whole or cut into large pieces, is simmered in sweetened water or grape must. Once cooked, the fruit is removed from the liquid and set aside. Ground mustard seed or mustard oil and vinegar are added to the sweet liquid and the mixture is further reduced before being recombined with the fruit. The resulting spicy sweet-and-sour condiment can pack a heady punch, although most commercially produced mostarda (the best known of which is the mixed-fruit Mostarda di Cremona) is fairly moderately flavored. Mostarda is traditionally eaten with boiled or roasted meats, cheese and bread. The word mostarda does not mean "mustard" but actually is derived from the Latin word mustum ("must"), referring to the original and classic use of grape must for the base. The Italian word for mustard is actually senape.