The choices for consumers in the marketplace today are astoundingly vast. Yet the rich variety of products available also varies tremendously in quality. And when it comes to quality, it is of most importance to pay attention to this when it comes to our food. We should be investing in the best, most wholesome, pure, and natural products. After all, what we eat, how much we eat, and the quality of those food choices are directly responsible for our state of health and weight.
For example, there are many mustard options available in stores today from the purest, least processed ones to heavily processed ones that are full of all kinds of harmful additives. Therefore, whether mustard is a healthy food choice all depends on its quality. Hence, as part of this article, I will explore the offerings of the food company, Maison Orphée, which specializes in different condiments, including mustards, vinegars, mayonnaises, marinades, salts, and oils, some of which can be part of a healthy, whole-food, plant-based diet.
About Maison Orphée
Maison Orphée is a family-owned company that is based in Quebec, Canada. It has been in existence since 1983 and prides itself on making oils and condiments “with the highest quality fruits and seeds” without compromising on quality or production methods. They share that they conduct several tests for GMOs, yeasts, and molds to ensure high-quality food products, and are also committed to the cleanliness of equipment, the training of teams, and temperature control during oil production. As such, their oils are cold-pressed and extracted at slow speeds.
To learn more about the company and its products, visit the Maison Orphée website.
My Experience with Maison Orphée
I first became aware of this company in 2010 when I spotted their coconut oil in my usual natural health food store. At that time, I was still consuming some oils in my diet and coconut oil was a relatively new addition that I was experimenting with. The Maison Orphée coconut oil was an organic, virgin coconut oil that was both local and reasonably priced, which were all important factors for my choosing it. Upon researching and learning about this company, it became clear that they stood out in terms of quality and care when it came to their food offerings.
Over time, I discovered and tried some of their other products, which all provided a very good experience. Several of their products have become some of my trusted favorites over the years. These include some of their mustards, vinegars, and salts, which I will discuss below. And while I started my journey with this company’s coconut oil and olive oil, these had a limited and short-lived presence in my diet, only until I removed all oils to further optimize my whole-food, plant-based diet. As for their marinades and mayonnaises, specifically their vegan one, those I have not tried and do not plan to, as they are too processed for my liking. Even though they are high-quality condiments that beat any conventional condiment out there and are highly recommended for those who heavily rely on condiments and want to improve the quality of their choices, they are just not something that I desire or choose to include in my diet.
Maison Orphée Mustards
Maison Orphée offers 3 varieties of mustards, which are yellow mustard, dijon mustard, and old-fashioned mustard. Even though I have never been much of a mustard fan, their yellow mustard has become one of my favorite staples. Its ingredients are as follows: Water, organic apple cider vinegar, organic mustard seeds, sea salt, organic turmeric.
The mustards are extremely rich in flavor with deep and authentic tones where a little bit goes a long way to highlight meals. The best part is that these mustards are made with completely wholesome and pure ingredients that are organic and locally sourced. There are no additives, like sugars, colors, or preservatives. This makes them one of the healthiest, if not the healthiest, condiments. Such pure and high-quality mustards offer nutritional benefits; they are naturally low in calories, a source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.
The mustards come in glass jars, which make them both easy and a pleasure to use. The small compact glass jars are also great to reuse to keep your bulk herbs and spices in.
Maison Orphée Vinegars
Maison Orphée offers a lovely selection of specialty vinegars. These include several varieties of organic apple cider vinegar, organic white wine vinegar, organic red wine vinegar, and organic balsamic vinegar. The vinegars are pure without any preservatives, and the pure apple cider vinegar is unpasteurized and unfiltered with “the mother”.
Like pure mustards, such pure, high-quality vinegars are condiments that actually benefit our health. Natural vinegars contain antioxidants and polyphenols (phytonutrients) that offer many health benefits for healing, prevention, and longevity. They can also help regulate blood sugar, boost immunity, optimize digestion and intestinal microflora, as well as aid weight loss. By using such pure vinegars in some of our meals, like salads, we increase many health benefits and avoid the health harms of conventional dressings and sauces and highly-processed, low-quality vinegars.
My top recommendations here are the Maison Orphée organic balsamic vinegar and organic apple cider vinegar. These are the two healthiest and most beneficial vinegars we can consume and they both provide wonderful flavors with which to enhance meals. All the vinegars also come in glass bottles that can be reused or recycled easily.
Maison Orphée Salts
Maison Orphée also offers a selection of high-quality, unrefined sea salts. These include coarse and fine grey sea salts, as well as plain and naturally herbed sea salts. The salts come from clay bottom pans of salt marshes off of the Atlantic coast of France and are hand-harvested.
Just like with all of our food options, a high-quality, unrefined salt is essential for optimal health. Refined salts are stripped of their natural minerals and benefits, while they introduce additives, like anti-caking agents and chemical residues from the refining process. Unrefined sea salt contains trace minerals, is alkalizing, and has a beneficial effect on our body when used in mindful and responsible quantities for maintaining the vital sodium-potassium balance, amongst other things.
The salts come in ready-to-use 250g containers for easy sprinkling and in plastic bags for the bulk 500g and 1kg sizes. The fine grey sea salt is the most recommended for the most versatile use, while the herbed sea salts are good for those who do not add many herbs or spices to their meals and just want a delicate flavor enhancer.
Maison Orphée Oils
Maison Orphée offers three lines of oils: Coconut Oils, Olive Oils, and Other Vegetable Oils. These include organic and non-organic extra virgin olive oils that come in different flavor intensities and different flavors. They include an organic virgin coconut oil and an organic refined coconut oil. The other oils include organic and non-organic oils, like canola, walnut, grapeseed, sunflower, sesame, and flax.
When it comes to using oils, we have to remember that these are not whole or natural foods, but isolated food extracts of pure fat from the original whole plant food. Therefore, for optimal health and weight, it is best to avoid all oils and instead eat their whole-food counterparts instead - i.e. eat olives instead of olive oil; eat walnuts instead of walnut oil; etc. However, when you are in the process of transitioning away from oils or if you choose to maintain some oils in your diet, then the ones from this company would definitely be amongst the best of the worst given their excellent quality and purity, which are essential considerations when it comes to buying edible oils. The worst thing we can do is to use refined and heavily processed oils and cheap oils, regardless of what kind they are or what plant they come from.
The Maison Orphée olive oils have subtle differences in terms of their tones and pepperiness (the natural throat burning that is usually associated with high-quality olive oil). When mixed into a meal though, these slight differences are really noticeable. It is best to consume the organic, extra virgin option if one is going to choose to use any olive oils. The same goes for the coconut oil, if this will be a consideration for you, organic virgin coconut oil is the way to go - not any refined coconut oil.
Maison Orphée Condiment Cost & Availability
Cost: Maison Orphée products are well-priced given the quality of the ingredients and products, making them accessible for those who invest in consuming healthy diets. For example, a good organic virgin coconut oil or a good organic extra virgin olive oil will cost around $15 for a roughly 500ml/16oz quantity and their oils range in the $10 to $15 range. Likewise, the mustards are only around $3, which is outstanding given their high quality and purity.
Availability: Being that Maison Orphée is a Canadian company, their products are most easily found in Canada, especially in Quebec and Ontario. Their products are available at health food stores and major grocery stores. You can also purchase their products online from the company directly. The products are also available on Amazon.ca but they are more costly there compared to the company website and physical stores.
Even though whole, plant foods are delicious on their own and we can make unlimited easy and delicious meal combinations just by learning to use herbs and spices and other plant foods, it is helpful to know that there are condiments that can be considered and used as part of an optimally healthy diet. In this regard, Maison Orphée can be a trusted choice to provide such options wonderfully.