Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mayo Label Collection: Duyvis (H1)

H1. Duyvis Mayonaise. Amersfoort, Netherlands, 1981. Hfl. 2.15 for 500 ml

It is only fair to start our review of bottled brands of Mayonnaise, with what was probably one of the very best varieties of the Golden Sauce ever to be put onto the market. We do this not only because praise should be given where it is due; but also as a reminder how crude and cruel our mercantile system occasionally is.

Duyvis Mayonaise was a splendid product. It had an exquisite taste, which ordinary words can barely describe. Its texture was stable and beautiful, like a homemade Mayo whipped up by an expert saucier. Its warm, ochre colour came straight from the palette of Cezanne. Yes, that modest little crown dotting the ‘i’ in the brand name was certainly deserved! This bottled blend was absolutely majestic!

And yet… And yet… It was not to be…

After a desperate ten-year struggle in the mid 70s and early 80s, this beautiful sauce was withdrawn from the supermarket shelves, because customers – those hare-brained fools! – deemed it overpriced and – swine sniffing at pearls! – failed to recognize its veritable qualities. Sic transit gloria mundi!

Let this serve as a lesson to us all, dear reader! Good taste and the marketplace are almost per definition at odds with one another. They are incompatibles, opposites, water and oil... The common man wants his Mayonnaise sweet, cheap and greasy. The suppliers feel no scruples to provide such aberrations to hoi polloi. And the legislator does not seem to mind that traditional craftsmanship, national gastronomy and general health are gradually eroded and undermined, to the benefit of insatiable balance sheets. A most lamentable situation, which condemns many a most worthy Mayonnaise to tragic extinction!

We often look at this label with that saddest and most melancholy of feelings which Johann Goethe captured in the term Weltschmerz. And then our lips mumble ever so softly, that undying line from François Villon:

‘Où sont les mayonneiges d’antan?’

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