I've seen wildly variable recipes - some with dried fruit, some with fresh, some with no mustard seed, some with mustard oil, some with grape must, most without ... figs, apricots, quince, pear, walnuts, cherry, prunes, cantaloupe rind, herbs, honey and many other ingredients have made appearances. There seems to be a good deal of regional and seasonal variety ... and regional pride with some sources claiming that only Mostarda di Cremona deserves the name.
I whipped up a batch at home using one of the simpler recipes I found - nothing more than red wine vinegar, prunes, apricots, honey, and mustard seed. It's good; makes a nice companion to salty cheese. But, having never had the "real thing," I'm wondering how authentic it is.
So, where can I buy or sample the real thing? Are there brands that are particularly good and others to avoid? Is there much of a difference between mostarda and the fruit preserves you find in the cheese department of grocery stores like whole foods? And, finally, other than with cheeses and boiled meats - apparently the two traditional roles - how is it used?