It seems silly to travel all the way to Paris for a jar of mustard, but that’s exactly what we do. OK…we happen to be in Paris when we make the pilgrimage to the Maille mustard shop, but I couldn’t imagine a trip to the city of light without making the stop.
Back in 1747, Antoine Maille was known by many as the greatest mustard and vinegar maker of all time. He created the now-famous Maille Dijon Originale mustard in Dijon, France, and opened a shop in Paris to sell it. To this day, the company follows his strict guidelines to re-create that magic. The Maille company opened a second store, in Dijon, in 1845.
There are several varieties of Maille mustard available in most supermarkets here in the United States, but the one mustard you can’t get…is the one you really want!
When you visit the Maille Paris shop on place de la Madeleine, you’re surrounded by beautiful displays of colorful jars of mustard. But you need to focus on the mustard taps–yes, like beer taps–at the main counter, a long oak bar where fresh mustard (no preservatives, never more than 10 days old) is dispensed into ceramic jars that are filled, corked, and wrapped in tissue paper.
Our mustard of choice is the Mailles Chablis mustard, which is unlike anything I’ve ever been able to find here in the States. And though it is potent, it has a magical quality that I can’t even begin to describe.
While you’re standing in line for your mustard–and there is always a line–you can sample the three fresh mustards offered with a pretzel or a cracker. Aside from the Chablis mustard, there is also a grape juice and honey mustard, and a white wine mustard.
Despite the fact that they say the potency of the fresh Maille mustard doesn’t last more than a few months, it doesn’t stop my wife and me from buying enough to keep us happy until the next trip to Paris a few years later. The way I look at it, the less potent Chablis mustard is still better than anything I can find on a store shelf here at home.
It is a sad day indeed when I open the last jar of Maille mustard, look deep down inside, and see that there is nothing left…just a dry residue of crusty mustard. I put the jar down, and go directly to my computer to book the next possible trip to Paris!