MIDDLETON, Wis. – Mustard lovers, rejoice. There's a museum dedicated to the condiment that has a sense of humor.
Named to the National Registry of Hysterical Places, mustard is king at the National Mustard Museum, although it's said the curator gives a good rendition of the mustard passages by Shakespeare.
More than 5,566 tubes, bottles and jars of the yellow condiment are on display. They come from more than 70 countries and all of the states. The variety of mustards can be mind-boggling. There are fruit mustards, sweet maple, hot Thai, Cajun, horseradish, kosher, pepper, zinfandel orange, lavender wine, and garlic.
If visitors aren't sure they like mustard or hesitate to buy an entire bottle of something they've never tasted before, the museum has a tasting bar. "Confidential Condiment Counselors" are there to act as guides. Some of the flavors are cranberry, blue cheese, chocolate – from the spicy to the sweet.
After getting the taste of things, guests might want to try the curator's interactive food quiz game and get recipes and cooking help at Mrs. Mustard's Kitchen. In the MusterPiece Theatre, visitors will learn about mustard-related areas of the world. These spots include sausage carts of Germany. Canadian mustard fields, and the Colman Mustard Co., which traces its roots back to 1814 England, where it has a museum, too.
Not only are mustards displayed, but guests can view the Gibbons collection of antique mustard pots, a colorful display that was given to the museum by the James Arthur Gibbons family. Also look for vintage mustard advertisements.
If there's a museum, a shop is sure to be there, and the Mustard Museum is no exception. Not only is mustard sold, but a number of other items, such as salsas, toppings and chutneys, are available. One can't be without mustard clothing and accessories, either. All of these can be purchased online or in person. After all, who could resist a hot-dog-and-mustard tie?
Visitors also might want to mark the calendar for National Mustard Day, the first Saturday in August. This year it's Aug. 2. Middleton will be hopping with mustard fans for mustard activities, live music, and, of course, food.
If you go
What: National Mustard Museum
Where: 7477 Hubbard Ave., Middleton, Wis.
When: Winter hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Friday and Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Cost: No charge; donations accepted
Information: Visit www.mustardmuseum.com/ or call 800-438-6878