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I recently moved from Poland to Canada and was shocked to find that I found every mayonnaise I tried in Canada tasteless.

So I compared the ingredients labels of the ones I tried here to the ones I knew from Poland, and the biggest difference I found consistently between mayonnaise in Canada and Poland is mustard, which is not present in any major brand's mayo in Canada, and it's there in every single one that I know from Poland - so I assume this must be the crucial difference.

Then I found out that Hellmann's (one of the most popular brands in Canada, less popular in Poland but still a big brand) version in Poland ("Hellmann's Babuni") also contains mustard - this led me to believe that it is definitely not a coincidence.

So, what I'd like to find out, is which regions prefer mustard in mayonnaise and which ones don't.

For example, is it a difference between entire Europe and North America, or just some regions? What about other parts of the world? I know mustard is not the only difference, but let's limit the question to this aspect.

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    To make it more confusing, Hellman's sells both the "original" and the "babuni" version in Poland - the former supposedly being much closer to the American one, although it still contains mustard. – Maciej Stachowski Jan 16 at 12:23
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    Also mustard itself can be very different. And not only ingredients but also type of the plant. – Gherman Jan 16 at 16:25
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    Looking at it from another perspective: I never buy mayonnaise, only make my own and assumed that mustard was by definition an ingredient of mayonnaise. The Larousse gastonomique suggests as much but apparently it hasn't always been so: there is no mustard in Escoffier's recipes for mayonnaise. – Relaxed Jan 16 at 21:54
  • You should get some Mayostard or Mustardayonnaise :P – wjandrea Jan 17 at 2:37
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    I recently saw a recipe tip to put (a substantial amount of) mayonnaise into a sweet pie filling on a popular YouTube cooking channel. The authors claim that it won’t negatively affect the final taste. Imagine my shock: mustard in the pie?! Well, apparently Americans leave out one of the core ingredients in their mayonnaise (and, to be fair, for the pie this then made perfect sense). – Konrad Rudolph Jan 17 at 11:54
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The difference in Mayonnaise is varied. For example, in the USA Hellman's and Best Foods Mayonnaise (Same company by the way and same product) add sugar to reduce the acidity. Regional tastes are also taken into account by the manufacturers.

Hellman's mayo in Europe has different ingredient percentages than the same mayo uses for the American market. Many in North America find Duke's mayo to be superior in taste and use than Hellman's due to the ingredient mix. Hellman's mayonnaise in the USA does NOT contain mustard, but there is nothing stopping you from adding a dollop of Dijon in the mix if that's your desired taste.

As a side note, in Japanese cooking where mayonnaise is called for, the most common brand is Kewpie (available in Asian stores and Amazon). The primary difference is that Kewpie mayo only uses egg yolks and also rice vinegar instead of distilled vinegar. It can be used for any recipe that calls for mayo and has a really delightfully more bright taste that's a little different than other mayo's.

Kraft now also offers Avocado Oil Mayonnaise. Looks healthy until you read the whole list of ingredients. Ugh!

Whatever you choose, you can certainly modify to taste. Bon Appetit!

  • I had the same issues when I moved back from France home to England (I didn't like Mayo before I lived out there), I just mix Dijon (or English) mustard in on the side of my plate – Bee Jan 16 at 10:59
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    Whenever an ingredient includes the word "food" I get worried. – OrangeDog Jan 16 at 11:07
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    Kewpie also has a lot of added sugar. – FuzzyChef Jan 16 at 17:46
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    England has mustard in mayo, they just call it "salad cream". – FuzzyChef Jan 16 at 21:28
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    @FuzzyChef Salad cream isn't mayo, it's a different product with a different balance of ingredients (less egg, lots of vinegar). The reduced egg content meant it was popular during the war when eggs were rationed. – stuart10 Jan 17 at 11:19
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From experience, mayo across Europe differs widely from country to country. Even within a country, the differences brand to brand are huge. Just compare the colours (hey, that tells you I'm in the UK) of various brands. In the UK Hellmans is not mustarded (Rapeseed Oil (78%), Water, Pasteurised Free Range Egg & Egg Yolk (7.9%), Spirit Vinegar, Salt, Sugar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Antioxidant (Calcium Disodium EDTA), Flavourings, Paprika Extract), Heinz 'Real Mayonnaise' (Rapeseed Oil 68%, Water, Pasteurised Egg Yolk* 5%, Spirit Vinegar, Sugar, Starch, Salt, Mustard Seeds, Spices, Antioxidant (Calcium Disodium EDTA), *From Free Range Eggs.) has mustard, slightly yellower in colour and (imho) tastes better. Same for other brands... they vary. However none of the mass-market mayos on sale in the UK are as flavoursome as French mass-market mayo. Take for instance Benedicta (Vegetable oil - water - egg yolks, fresh (5%) - Dijon mustard - vinegar - salt - sugar - modified corn starch - thickener: xanthan gum - color: beta carotene - aroma.)

And please don't look at the ingredients too closely in those brands... they're all extended with various things that have no place in real mayo!

  • The Heinz mayo has less mustard than salt … can you really taste it? – Michael Jan 17 at 10:05
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    Not nearly as much as you can in Benedicta! There is definitely a mustard hint in the Heinz mayo, just a hint, if you compare it to Hellman's. It's bland enough that mustard haters don't object (my partner is a mustard hater but likes Benedicta and thinks Heinz is way better than Hellman's). Also, Heinz has 'less than salt' of mustard seeds whereas Benedicta has 'more than salt' of something that is less than half mustard because it's prepared Dijon Mustard. So how do you compare to find out how much is really in each when they use different sources? Without a lab, by taste i guess! – houninym Jan 17 at 11:08
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So far generic-American mayonnaise, polish mayonnaise, Japanese mayonnaise, and French (I presume) mayonnaise, are all I've come across with the polish one being the only one I remember having mustard as an ingredient.

The difference I noticed with "French" mayo was that it was made with lemon juice rather than just vinegar. (I vastly prefer this style myself, but can't get it regularly)

If you actually want to get your hands on some polish majonez in Canada, I'd suggest looking for a Polish/Baltic food shop nearby. (or "ethnic section" of a supermarket)

I can only speak for Europe, but I've seen majonez on sale most of the times I've headed into one. It likely won't be super cheap, but should suffice to get your fix.

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    Contrary to what you wrote, French mayonnaise generally (virtually always, I thought) contains mustard. A cursory check of French recipes on Google confirms this. – Konrad Rudolph Jan 17 at 12:00
  • Ah. I must be mistaken, either about the contents or the kind of mayonnaise I'm thinking of. (By french, I meant what I got in a french-speaking region of europe, with the e in parentheses for some reason) – bobsburner Jan 21 at 9:11
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Original recipe have just olive oil, egg yolks and a pinch of vinegar or lemon juice.

It originated in the city of Mahon in the balearic isle of Menorca and brought to France after the invasion of the isle by french troops in 1756.

In Spain mayonnaise (or mahonesa) doesn't contain any mustard.

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In italy mustard is a thing, mayonnaise is another thing they are really different. Basically mayo in italy is eggs and oil (you can add salt, vinegar etc... but they are not necessary... also it can be olive oli, seed oil etc... and you can decide to only use yolks). Mustard is not an italian thing, you will find it anyway but not under mayo.

PS. I like to mix italian mayonnaise with ketchup (or rubra, an italian kind of ketchup) to create "salsa rosa" (pink sauche). It taste great and it's my favourite with fried and not fried potatoes.

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