The Four Best Mustards

How's this for a little yellow journalism?

Mustard has always been essential in the American cook's pantry. It's hard to imagine a ballpark hot dog, salty pretzel or pastrami sandwich without a squeeze of the beloved yellow stuff. And mustard is sausage's best friend.

But what American cooks are learning (something that the French have known for a while) is that mustard is also the most versatile condiment. Think about how it's made: Toasting or pickling the seeds before grinding creates wildly different profiles; an array of spices and vinegar or wine adds flavor and depth.

After tasting a range of mustards–from mild and sweet to one fit for royalty–we compiled four mustards we love and can't live without.

1. A. Bauer's Pure Prepared Mustard ($3)

Deli-style in texture with a flavor that's a cross between Dijon and yellow mustard. Sweet with a slightly tangy finish, this is your go-to for a pastrami sandwich.

2. Maille Dijon Originale ($4)

The creamy classic blend contains heat that hits the back of the throat and nose. Perfect to add an additional layer of flavor to vinaigrettes and marinades.

3. Mustard Pommery: Mourtade de Meaux ($11)

This whole-grain, multi-colored mustard–whose recipe dates back hundreds of years–coats the mouth with some heat and a light smokiness. Use it as your all-purpose condiment or in marinades or sauces to give texture and complexity.

4. Edmond Fallot Burgundy Mustard ($4)

This tres fancy mustard contains seeds and white wine from France's Burgundy region. The rich, buttery blend has a spicy finish, which makes it pair well with sausage, pâtéand other meats.