Ah, la France! Alma Mater to us all! Cradle of the Golden Sauce! Origin of The Blessing of Mankind! Land whose tongue first tasted and first baptised the Sauce of Sauces! Garden of Eden where that anonymous genius, the Original Adam of whisk and mixing bowl, first made Thee, Oh Paradisiacal Emulsion, for the benefit of his lovely spouse (1), and first named Thee, Oh Devine Dip, after Thy rich, delicious, magnificent yolk (2)! Happy, thrice happy realm where such timeless ambrosia as Oeuf Mayonnaise, Frites Mayonnaise, Lobster Mayonnaise and Mayonnaise à la Mayonnaise were first invented! Where bottled godsends like Amora, Beaumont, Benedicta, Casino, Lesieux, Maurel, Maille, Heinrich Hamker, Pikarome, and many many other superb brands may be had from the well-filled shelves of all your unsurpassed Supermarchés of taste and sophistication! How could I have forsaken thee for so long? How could I treat of thee only on the Ides of March of my second blogging year!? But be soothed, my beloved, be soothed! For yes, I shall be as Frank as You are! I may have forsaken thee a while, but never did I forget you for the flutter of an eyelid! Not a day goes by without a soft prayer for thy health, for thy happiness and for thy cuisine, brushes my lips, both before and after that greatest contribution thou hast made to Mankind's Happiness is partaken by my grateful mouth and palate!
(1) There are – Greek – historians who are convinced that this here brand goes back to the original Mayonnaise made in the Garden of Eden below the Tree of Knowledge.
(2) For the correct etymology of ‘Mayonnaise’, see this here earlier post.
But, all modest patriotism aside, let us get back to business with the description of today’s fine brand: Benedicta from… - surprise! - …. France!
F2. Benedicta. Paris, 1981. Price unknown. 530 ml/500 gr
F10. Benedicta. Toulouse, June 1996. Ffr. 13 for 500 ml/470 gr
Benedicta is one of the great household names in France. It fills the slot of the Hellmanns, the Krafts and the Calvés that elsewhere destroy the taste buds and the reputation of national cuisines and undermine the competitive chances of home-made products in countries too feeble to defend themselves. (A happy nation is France indeed! A magnificent Maginot line of Good Taste ensures that the Yankee-Kraut multinationals cannot get away with their cheap tricks here!)
With its subtle verbal reminder of monasteries, dark beer and (of course) first class mustard, this Benedicta Mayonnaise is Blessed indeed! But it is also a brand which needs its time and demands a little patience from the partaker. At first bite after opening the jar, the taste seems to evaporate on the tongue, and a momentary disillusion sets in. Where is the Benedicta of my youth, the experienced, mature consumer asks himself? Did the manufacturer, like so many unscrupulous businessmen before him, trade in the glory of his former product for the gastronomy of the suburbs and the banality of the banlieux? Has Benedicta perhaps degenerated into a Been-adicta???
But no: it is not a change of recipe, but a lack of persistence, which causes the sensation. A couple of days after opening the jar, the sauce, left to breath for a reasonable period of time, matures on its own strength. It ripens. It grows. And an unexpected treasure of spicy aroma returns, rich in layers of flavor, generous in boons of satisfaction.
Substance and colour of this brand are quite correct, although - especially as we approach the bottom of the larger jars, the sauce tends to become somewhat too fluid. Hence it is not, perhaps, a briliant affair, but for those with patience, a worthwhile one!