The modern era has nearly wiped out the “specialty boutique,” the kind of small business committed to doing one thing and doing it right. This aspect of alimentary history is preserved, however, in Maille, an 8th arrondissement shop specializing in gourmet mustards and various other condiments. With locations in Paris and Dijon, the shop has been a French institution since the 18th century, when Antoine-Claude Maille outfitted King Louis XV with his product.
The shop itself possesses the refinement and aesthetic appeal of an upscale fashion boutique. Fine mustards of various kinds (truffle and white wine, saffron and crème fraîche, wholegrain and chardonnay, and many more) line one wall; vinegars, pickles, and capers are displayed opposite. Select mustards are available on tap, served up by knowledgeable and helpful staff members, and can be jarred (in a quaint, old fashioned mustard pot) upon request. The shop carries multiple gift sets, and “Le Potager du Roy” collection, available throughout the spring and summer, harkens back to the French royal court.
In addition to edible goods, the shop also carries mustard accoutrements: different models of mustard spoons, mustard jars, and even “mustard aprons.” Maille is well-preserved vestige of the past; it allows for a shopping experience that the supermarkets simply cannot match.