"But We’re Out of Mustard…

"But We’re Out of Mustard…

and have to get our crocks refilled!”

That’s the excuse I gave my husband while trying to tack some Paris days onto the end of our Italy trip this past October.

We bought two of these crocks in 2008 at the Maille shop on Rue de Madeleine in Paris.

If you buy a crock, they will fill it with fresh mustard. Once you have finished your mustard, you simply bring back the crock and have it refilled for much less than buying regular jars. It’s quite a bargain – if you live in Paris.

You can choose any of three types. We went with the grainy, stone-ground and an eye-watering spicy white wine mustard (my favorite) the first time. There was some concern about getting the crocks home in one piece. But we like to live in the edge, so we went for it. We packed them away in our suitcases and crossed our fingers that our belongings would not be covered in a mustardy mess when we got home.

They made it home sans a mess. Once the mustard was gone, I used them to store grocery and restaurant receipts. One I kept on the kitchen window sill over the sink. I could relive memories of Paris whenever I wanted, all the while longing to refill the crocks with fresh mustard.

When we decided last summer that we would spend our 10th wedding anniversary in Italy, I knew I couldn’t get that close to Paris and not go.

Since I have the most generous, thoughtful and loving husband and since he loves the spicy mustard as much as I do, Paris days were booked and empty mustard crocks packed securely in the luggage. On the 27th of October, we arrived via Metro at the Maille shop.

Unfortunately for our photo ops, we arrived just after le post delivered a huge plastic wrapped palate.

Crocks in hand, I entered the shop.
First, I had check out any new merchandise.
There are walls of mustard jars in a variety of flavors along with dishtowels and various gift packs.
I selected a Maille tote that I can use for grocery shopping or as a book bag.
Bill likes it so much, he thinks I should carry it
as my handbag. And he’s serious.

Once we had a look around, we got down to business. It was time to fill the well-traveled crocks.

White wine “spicy” only s’il vous plaît!
Here I am: a happy Américaine with fresh French moutarde and a new Maille shopping bag.
Once again, the well-traveled crocks made it back to California. Now, we’ve got two crocks of mustard in the fridge and have enjoyed several delicious sandwiches since returning home.

I’m going to work the “we need a mustard refill” angle again next year. But something tells me it only works once.



  1. December 14, 2010 / 10:33 am

    extremely cute story. you are adorable. i can just see me trying to get that one by the mr.


  2. December 14, 2010 / 1:20 pm

    One thing I really want to do while in Paris next time is get one of these crocks and fill it. I’ve never had the spicy one, but I’m sure it would become my new favorite. I love Maille, I recommend it all the time. Really, once you’ve tried it, other brands never are satisfying. I even purchased a vintage milk glass Maille jar to use on my desk to hold pens, etc. (and recently it got used as a vase!) Thanks for sharing this mini trip!

  3. December 14, 2010 / 5:55 pm


    Thank you…that is a nice compliment.


    They have three different sizes (I think) of the crocks. I almost bought one of the large ones, but I knew we had no room left in the luggage at that point.
    The fresh mustard tastes even better than their jarred, of course. Maille is the only dijon mustard I buy – except I do buy a basic grocery store brand for my salad dressing recipe…it gets to costly to use the Maille for that. I use quite a bit!


    I forgot to mention that Maille is now made in your country, Quebec, I believe….I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be considered shopping locally for you!


  4. December 14, 2010 / 6:30 pm

    I’ve never heard of crocks before I read your post. You learn something new every day! Paris must have been wonderful!

  5. December 14, 2010 / 9:18 pm

    this is one of the cute-est stories I’ve read in blog land!

  6. December 14, 2010 / 11:24 pm

    Love this photo story Adrienne!

  7. December 15, 2010 / 6:37 am

    Oh man, these are great photos and a great memory. I have always wondered how I could visit the many places I want to in Europe… how could I be that close to Paris and not go????


  8. December 15, 2010 / 8:01 pm

    Best excuse to go to Paris ever!

  9. January 12, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    Thank you for this article! We visited Paris in October and I did a LOT of online searching before we left. I would never have found this place if not for your blog and I loved everything about it. I sampled the spiciest one first, and the rest were very mild in comparison. : ) We bought two crocks, the spicy and another, wonderful flavors each!

  10. Karen
    May 26, 2015 / 7:40 am

    Came across this looking for the empty crocks to make my own mustard. I bought 2 crocks of mustard in Paris last week. Unfortunately, I had them in my carry on luggage. They were thrown out by security at the airport! I’m still traumatized. It’s even more expensive here. There is a store in NYC. I might have to make a trip this summer.

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