While visiting the 8th arrondissement in Paris, we ventured into Boutique Maille on the Place de la Madeleine. Maille is a French mustard and pickle company that dates back to 1747; it is famous for its Dijon mustard and cornichon. The history of Maille is very interesting. Antoine-Claude Maille, a vinegar merchant, gained renown in 1720 when la peste (the plague) ravaged Marseille. His invention of the “Vinaigre aux Quatre Voleurs” (Four Thieves Vinegar) and its antiseptic qualities ended up saving the lives of many Marseillais from the disease. His son, also named Antoine-Claude Maille, opened a shop in 1747 in Paris. Because of the high quality of his ingredients, he soon became the official supplier of vinegars and mustards to Louis XV of France. Today, while Maille still makes award-winning Dijon mustard, Maille also offers different types of mustard, oil, and vinegar.
Shown above is just a small sample of the wall of different vinegars/salad dressings. These include orange and balsamic vinegar salad dressing, shallot, onion, and red wine vinegar salad dressing, black olive and extra virgin olive oil salad dressing, cider vinegar, pistachio vinegar, and sherry vinegar, to name a few.
The mustards are showcased on one full side of the store and very inventive flavors are available. There is even mustard “on tap” where different flavors of mustard are dispensed into refillable ceramic jars and then sealed with a cork lid. On the day that we visited, the mustards on-tap were a hot and spicy white wine mustard, chardonnay old style mustard, and a chablis mustard that was hot and fruity. You may bring the jar back to be refilled. Maille provides small breadsticks so that you can sample some of the flavors that are available. The flavors change with the seasons, so not all are available year-round.
Some of the mustard flavors include fig and coriander, sun-dried tomato and spicy Basque pepper, raspberry and basil, white wine and walnut, white wine and crème de cassis, and parmesan and garlic, to name just a few. Maille also offers the Spring/Summer 2013 Collection, which includes Spicy Basque pepper, Raspberry liqueur and St. Maure cheese.
Gift boxes and collections as well as kitchen towels and other accessories are also available, but be aware that Maille does not provide shipping. When asked, the salesperson said she hoped shipping would be offered in the future. So, if you are traveling by plane, you must pack the mustard, oil, and vinegar in your checked baggage. We usually only travel with carry-on luggage, but because this trip was an extended stay through three seasons, we travelled with checked bags (just this once) and are happy to pack our mustard in our luggage. With our purchase, we were also given a small booklet of recipes for the Spring/Summer 2013 Collection.
If you visit Paris or Dijon, I highly recommend a trip to this boutique. In Paris, Maille is located at 6 Place de la Madeleine and is easily accessible by the Metro.
Official Website: http://www.maille.com/