Condiment fans, take note: A 267-year-old Dijon mustard brand set up shop on the Upper West Side last month, giving New Yorkers a spot to get mustard on tap while they chat with a mustard sommelier. If that’s the sort of thing that floats your pastrami sandwich, you’ll want to head to Maille (185 Columbus Avenue, 212-724-1014).
Let’s start with that mustard sommelier, Pierette Huttner, who honed her skills working at Maille in London and Paris. “The requirement is that you have to be intimately familiar with the brand,” Huttner says of her credentials. “You have to know the heritage, history, and quality of the product. And you have to be familiar with all the mustards — I can do a blind taste test of twenty different varieties and differentiate among the flavors.”
Maille, she explains, originated in 1747 under Antoine Maille, and soon became the official purveyor of vinegar and mustard for the French court. “We’re one of the oldest brands in France,” says Huttner. In 1845, Maille opened its first boutique in Dijon. In the intervening years, two more outposts sprouted, one in Paris, and one in Piccadilly in London just last year.
At the New York location, which is the first in the U.S., Maille is serving more than twenty varieties of mustard (though in Europe, it vends forty). “We’ll be adding to the line over time,” says Huttner.
And many of those mustards are sold on tap. “Just like you can go get a beer drawn for you, you can have mustard drawn for you,” says the sommelier. “It’s poured into a stoneware jar that’s refillable.” Look for traditional Dijon in addition to varieties like Parmesan cheese and basil — “a gateway mustard for people who aren’t sure if they’re really going to enjoy flavored mustard,” says Huttner — and whole-grain Chardonnay. Mustards on tap incorporate different white wines, and Maille’s other mustards are based on either vinegar or white wine.
That tap setup allows Maille to offer a fairly unique experience to visitors of the shop; pop by and you’ll partake in a mustard tasting, “to ascertain what your palate is, whether you’d prefer something more traditional or experimental,” says Huttner. Then you can shop the wares, which include mustards, of course, but also vinegars, olive oil, hazelnut oil, tea towels, aprons, and small mustard bowls hand-painted in France.
Maille came to New York, says Huttner, because it’s the center of epicurean culture here in the States. “We are a brand that has a long heritage and history that we still celebrate,” she adds. “We’re happy to be part of the culinary world here.”
Maille is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.