French Fancies: Maille

Although this series is intended to celebrate long-established largely family-run firms, it’s almost inevitable that some will end up in the hands of multi-nationals. Such is the case with the manufacturer of my favourite mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar and gherkins, Maille, which was acquired in 2000 by Unilever. However, the original Maison Maille continues making traditional dijon mustard available for sale through boutiques operating in a number of locations around the world.

So, how did it all start?

In 1747 Antoine-Claude Maille opened a boutique called La Maison Maille on the rue Saint-André des Arts in Paris and became the official supplier to the court of Louis XV. His father, who shared his name and was also a vinegar maker, had become famous during the 1720s for recommending the condiment as a plague treatment.

In 1760, Mr Maille was named official supplier to the courts of Austria and Hungary. In 1769, King Louis XVI granted him the licence as “ordinary distiller-vinegar-maker” and two years later he was granted a charter as distiller-vinegar-maker to Empress Catherine II of Russia.

Mr Maille sold his business to his associate André-Arnoult Acloque in 1800 and died in 1804. His son Robert and Mr Alcoque’s son Andre-Gabriel became business partners in 1819 and were appointed distillers to the King and sole suppliers to the house of King Louis XVIII in 1821. Maille became vinegar-maker to Charles X in 1826, supplier to the King of England in 1830, and vinegar-maker to King Louis-Philippe in 1836. The first Maille boutique opened in the Burgundy region in 1845.

In 1885, Maille was purchased by Maurice Grey of Grey-Poupon, a brand of whole-grain and Dijon mustards which had started in Dijon. Maille was then purchased by entrepreneur Baron Philippe de Rothschild in 1930. Its slogan Il n’y a que Maille qui m’aille, or “Maille alone suits me”, was created in 1931. In 1936 the brand advertised itself by spelling out the word ‘MAILLE’ in lights on the rooftops of Parisian buildings. This scene was depicted in a cinema advert called Quand on en a Paris. These campaigns ended after the outbreak of WWII.

In more recent times

The company began producing Maille whisky glasses (containing mustard) in 1988 and launched its trademark Fleur de Lys jar a year later. It started selling balsamic vinegar in 1991.

In 1996, the firm celebrated the 250th anniversary of the opening of its first boutique by opening a shop on the Place de la Madeleine in Paris which sells packaged mustards, oils and vinegars as well as mustard straight from the pump. These have also been sold online since 2007.

Maille was sold to Paribas Affaires Industrielles in 1997 and subsequently bought by Unilever in 2000. In 2011 new products were introduced including a Dijon mustard with Chablis “1747”, an aged balsamic vinegar and black truffle mustard – a little truffle never hurt anything!

Maille opened a boutique in Piccadilly, London in 2013 and another on the Upper West Side of New York City and one on the Mornington Peninsula (Melbourne) both in 2014. It opened one at the Carrousel du Louvre and another in Bordeaux in 2015 as well as three in-store concessions in Chicago, Portland and San Francisco.

Do go and visit the website which has some delicious recipes and if you’re not already familiar with their products, try some of them, you won’t be disappointed.


56 Comments on “French Fancies: Maille

  1. I was living – in different places of France, – Dijon – and also Paris, Maille is very familiar – and their slogan is : ” Il n’y a que Maille qui m’aille “.
    Dijon is a fabulous town for gastronomie.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Anyone living in France would be very familiar with the brand and you’re so right about Dijon!


  3. I used to use Grey Poupon until several recipes were very specific about using Maille. I made the switch in brands. So glad I did!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Their mustard is also sold here in Germany, but I don’t recall seeing their other products.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My favourite taste of mustard too, fortunately widely available throughout the world. I appreciated seeing Maille sponsor the Bastille Day celebrations in Toronto a few years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I swear I’ve seen a few of their products in a couple of upscale grocery stores, in the deli section.

    As for dijon, who doesn’t love it? 🙂 My personal favorite mustard is stone ground, but there are some sandwiches that it just doesn’t work with

    Liked by 1 person

      • I guess it’s largely a matter of taste and what one is in the mood for on a given day, but one example that comes to mind is a roast turkey sandwich. Unless you go really light, the stone ground mustard will easily overpower the turkey. Dijon is a better choice for a sandwich like that most of the time. 🙂

        PS: I despise plain yellow mustard, even though I love dijon and stone ground.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It was amusing we thought that I could buy Maille Dijon Mustard for the same or a cheaper price in Australia than in Dijon itself in an exclusive Maille shop

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Another fascinating piece, Sheree. I was in Dijon a few years back and bought a load of “moutard”. I think I shall have mustard mash with my sausages tonight!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Of course they are the best (with Grey Poupon which is the same company then) We love all their mustards and the cornichons of course ! We can find Maille and Grey Poupon mustard in regular supermarket in the regular condiment and pickles aisle. For the cornichons (the French cornichons that are irreplaceable) it’s a bit more tricky, I need to go to a fancy upscale grocery store and it’s a solid 8 dollars for a small “bocal”. But we cannot live without … even my 2 younger ones that were mainly raised in the USA, kept the French taste for cornichons and real mustard, all Maille bien sûr. They cannot stand the American counterparts of neither of those.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi; so I’m still recognized as a subscriber. Wish I knew why I don’t get notifications of your posts. I’ll click the notification request again.

    Interesting post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Annie, I no longer get notified about your and a whole host of others that I search for each week. It’s very frustrating and I allegedly still follow you and everyone else!


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