On my trip to Paris last summer, I visited what might be the best shop in Paris. By the best, I don’t mean the most exclusive, the most expensive, or the trendiest.
I mean, of course, the most delicious.
The Maille store in the Place de Madeleine area looks like it has been there since the times when carts and horses roamed the streets of Paris instead of cars. Inside is nothing less than the Disneyland of mustards.
You have probably seen Maille mustard in America, but never a selection such as this. Mustards with fruits, mustards with exotic spices, mustards made especially for fish and mustards made to pair with cheese. Mustard based sauces for fish soup and mustard glazes to use for meats. Even special, seasonal mustards using the most seasonal vegetables and spices to create flavors like apricot curry, goat cheese pear, and wheat bread spiced mustards. There must be 80 mustards or more in the store at any given time, that change seasonally, and are not offered outside of France. There are even some mustards you can only get at one of the Maille stores, here or in Dijon, France.
You can also buy your own (huge) carafe, which is refillable, and have it filled with one of three mustards that are on tap: A mild, grainy Chardonnay mustard, a spicy and sweet Chablis mustard, and a classic,tangy Dijon mustard. Each is delicious, each is different.
Taste them with the provided breadsticks, make your choice, and watch the salesperson fill up your jar to bring home.
The best souvenirs really are edible.
I bought a jar of the black truffle and celery root mustard, which is, to date, the second best condiment I have ever tasted(Sriracha, you still win) – complex, earthy, heavy on the truffle taste with the herby aroma of the celery root. This makes a turkey sandwich into a gourmet meal and is incredible when spread on a rare steak sandwich.
This mustard store is always where I spend the bulk of my souvenir money in France. You can keep your fancy clothes, have fun at Cartier, but leave the mustard to me.