December 4, 2011
If the twinkling lights all over Paris didn’t give it away, we’re happy to declare that it’s officially holiday season. We’ve got holiday shopping on our minds and, lucky us, several fabulous bloggers who are as enamored with France as we are have graciously agreed to share their favorite French-inspired holiday gifts with us here. We’ll publish several irresistible gift posts over the next few weeks, with the goal of helping you bring a little of la vie française to every person on your gift list.
David Lebovitz, food writer, blogger and author of The Sweet Life in Paris, is kicking off our series (thanks, David!) and we hope you’ll stay tuned to the Hip Paris Holiday Gift Guide. We love helping you spend your hard-earned argent… in the right places, bien sûr. -Maggie
Most are familiar with Maille, whose cute little shop in the Place de la Madeleine dispenses mustard from a line-up of spigots into little earthenware pots. Maille is also available in just about every supermarket in town, and for those who don’t care about crockery, you can begin a wine glass collection with every pot you purchase.
But Amora is the brand that locals seem to prefer. Shortly after I arrived in Paris and was stocking my petite cuisine, I got on the bus carrying my bulging bag of groceries, filled with basics. I had picked up a hefty jar of Amora mustard, mostly because the glass had graduated lines on it, noting its future use as not a wine glass, but a more practical measuring cup. (Although sometimes in Paris, I find myself using one more than the other.) The woman next to me on the bus looked into my sack, smiled, and said, “Monsieur, c’est très, très fort, mais très bon.” – “It’s very, very strong, but very good.” And I knew I had made the right choice.
Yet most of the “Dijon” mustard sold in France – and the rest of the world – isn’t necessarily made in Dijon anymore, but produced elsewhere. Edmond Fallot Mustard is made by a company which was founded in 1840 in Burgundy, where the soil conditions are favorable for mustard seed cultivation. Nowadays, most other companies get their seeds from elsewhere in France, or from as far away as Canada.
In Paris, upscale supermarkets carry it as well as épiceries around town, and it doesn’t cost more than a few euros a jar. Specialty stores in America carry it and you can find it online. In Paris, I buy it at my very favorite food shop, G. Detou, that carries just about every flavor they make.
I have a friend, my first editor who lives in New York City, and nothing makes her happier than when I bring her a plain yellow plastic bottle of Amora. (Hey, she was my first editor – I told you she had good taste). For those traveling between here and there, the French have made it easy for you to take a squirt of their mustard home, to give to friends as holiday gifts, although I keep a tube, jar, or measuring cup – or even a stem of it – on hand for myself, too.
- Lovely ways to use mustard glasses by David Lebovitz (Wine, anyone?)
- Fashion insider Melissa Skoog Dunagan of On My Plate shares her favorite Parisian food discoveries
- Dark Chocolate Lava Cake with Molten Maille Dijon Mustard and Honey Center recipe by Fig & Cherry in Sydney, Maille celebrated 30 years of retailing there last week
- Roast Pork and Carrots with Mustard Sauce from Girls’ Guide to Paris
Written by David Lebovitz
David has been living in Paris for nearly a decade. He previously worked as a pastry chef in the San Francisco Bay Area. He's the author of six books, including his latest, Ready for Dessert, a collection of his all-time favorite recipes, and The Sweet Life in Paris. His blog is at DavidLebovitz.com
Website: David Lebovitz