Tucked away in a corner of the place surrounding the Madeleine in the heart of Paris is a tiny boutique, with wood panelled sides. If you don’t know that it is there, then you may well miss it. Fortunately, judging the brisk business it does all day, the shop is clearly an important destination for many.
This little shop doesn’t sell shoes — or even macarons, for those you will need Laduree just around the corner — but mustard. Jars and jars of delicious mustard. It is a kind of epicurean heaven. And my British-based readers will no doubt be glad to hear that Maille will be opening their very first international boutique in the Piccadilly Arcade this week.
I’ve always eaten — and cooked with — Maille Dijon mustard, (you may remember this Maille pop up supperclub in Spitalfields Market, which I cooked for in the summer of 2011)
and I first discovered Maille’s marvellous little shop back in the autumn of 2008. I can pinpoint the date quite precisely, because I was celebrating the two days I had free between the fashion shows in Milan and Paris by eating and shopping my way through the City of Lights with my mother, who I had imported for the weekend from England.
We had wandered into the Place de La Madeleine on a whim and, an hour later, departed weighed down with bags of mustard, which I carefully packed in my suitcase and took back to New York.
Because here’s the thing: these wonderful shops don’t just sell plain old Dijon. Ohooo no. They sell every possible permutation of Maille’s delicious mustard. It is like a candy store for mustard loving grown ups. Simply grab a basket
and try to make a decision…
My current obsession is Pleurottes et Girolles — a wonderful mushroom flavour, which works perfectly at this time of year in pasta cream sauces, and I am quite partial to the noisette — hazelnut. However, my absolute hands down favourite part of buying my mustard in a Maille boutique are the fresh mustard pumps.
You can buy three different fresh mustards, straight from the pump — the London store will have this facility too, so you can choose between Moutarde à l’ancienne et au Chardonnay, Moutarde au Chablis, et Moutarde au Vin Blanc. You are allowed to taste before you buy: gustatory bliss.
Your personal choice of fresh mustard will be sealed with the eat by date, and you can bring your jar back in for a refill too.
And in October you may even find a line waiting patiently to buy the limited edition fresh Maille Moutarde au Chablis et aux Brisures de Truffe Noire. (It is so delicious that, whilst writing this, I have had to hop it to the kitchen to make a Brie sandwich spread liberally with the mustard from my own precious jar.)
The store doesn’t just tell mustard, vinegars, dressings, mayonnaise and cornichons,
but all the accoutrements you may need to help you cook, serve and eat with them.
There’s been a Maille mustard shop in Paris since 1747, so it’s about time London got its own…
This post is written in association with Moutarde de Maille. The London Maille boutique is at 2 Piccadilly Arcade, SW1Y 6NH