About Secrets of Paris

American-born travel journalist and guidebook author Heather Stimmler-Hall created the Secrets of Paris in 1999 to share the hidden side of the City of Light. Discover what you've been missing:

* Custom Travel Content 
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* Calendar of interesting Paris events
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Calendar of Paris Events

Book NOW for September 5-6
The American Church of Paris is hosting A Prarie Home Companion radion show with Garrison Keillor for two dates, September 5th at 8pm and September 6th at 4pm. Tickets are €31, book as soon as possible, space is limited.

Through August 24
The Paris Fun Fair (Fête Foraine) is open in the Tuileries (Louvre Gardens), daily 11am-11:45pm (until 12:45am on Friday and Saturday). Free entrance, but you’ll need to buy tickets for each ride on the usual carnival attractions, or have cash for cotton candy and the games where you can win prizes. The Ferris Wheel has excellent views over Paris! 

Through August 24
The annual Open-Air Cinema Festival takes place Wed-Sun nights at the Parc de la Villette's Triangle Prairie (M° Porte de Pantin), starting at sunset (around 10pm), free entry. This year's theme is Adolescence, including films such as Moonrise Kingdom, Scream 4, and American Graffiti.

Through August 31
Between the Lines and the Trenches, a very intimate collection of personal letters, notebooks and photos from the trenches, many never published before. At the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts (222 Boulevard Saint-Germain), through August 31st, entry €7.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL CALENDAR

Secrets of Paris gives 10% of all tour fees
to the French food bank, Les Restos du Coeur

« Chocoholics of the World Unite | Main | Newsletter #121: October 24, 2012 »
Wednesday
Oct312012

Liberté, Egalité, Cupcakes

Article and photos by Paris Pastry correspondent Tara Oakes.

Had you followed the damp queue through the mysterious door on the Quai de Jemmapes last Saturday, you would have been rewarded with a glorious sight. On every surface were perched bright, colourful, scrumptious treats - cupcakes everywhere, as far as the eye can see. This can only mean one thing: the third edition of Cupcake Camp Paris was in full swing at the trendy Comptoir Général. Amateur and professional bakers whipped up their most adventurous and delicious recipes to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and win over a decidedly keen public in the process – who doesn’t love a good deed that comes with a few extra sprinkles on top?

In fact, if you think sprinkles are about as exciting as cupcakes can get, think again. In response to prize categories including “Most Horrifying, Halloween-Inspired Cupcake” and “Cupcake with the Most Exotic/Unusual Ingredient”, entrants offered up everything from white chocolate brains to tempt Hannibal Lecter to guacamole delights topped with icing cacti. The sheer range of cakes piled up throughout the hall proves the point: these treats, often assumed to be determinedly cute and girly, can fill not only your stomachs but also any design brief you care to think of.

The bakers themselves agree that the possibility for individuality is what makes cupcakes stand out from other traditional French patisseries. Caroline from Carolive’s Cupcakes highlighted the accessibility of cupcakes, saying: “We look for beautiful things and cupcakes are so varied. You can adapt any sort of recipe”. Rahima Mohammad of Fairy Cooker, who went on to win the prize for most exotic ingredient with her guacamole creations, agreed: “All the cupcakes here, they’ve been made like little babies and you put your heart into them”. Not everyone participating today owns their own boutique, but all have been drawn into the world of cupcakes by the opportunity to create something that is not only delicious but also highly personalised.

This seems to deliberately fly in the face of the rigid perfection often associated with traditional French patisseries. In fact, Nelly from La Dinette de Nelly claims that the very fact that they are not originally a French creation adds another dimension to their current popularity in Paris, likening their success to that of other international foods like burgers and pizza. Cat from Sugar Daze, organiser of Cupcake Camp Paris, explains: “Every time people talk to me about cupcakes they bring up Sex and the City...the French people really like New York, so I think it’s all kind of linked somehow”. Despite the oft-cited stereotype that the French are entirely obsessed with their own culinary traditions, the large crowds on the day seem to prove that these American-inspired treats with the scope for a bit of eccentricity are a hit – especially with the added sweetener of raising money for Make-A-Wish. Cupcake Camp 2013? Expect something deliciously unexpected...

 

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