dimanche 21 novembre 2010

bye bye cupcakes

Here is a link to a November article from the New York Times about the renewed interest in pies in the United States. It is called "Pie to cupcake: time's up".

The article suggests that there is a new fashion for pies, that it has aroused great enthousiasm and may soon replace the cupcake hysteria.

Will the fashion for cupcakes soon fade ?

These last few years in Paris there has been a real craze for British and American pastries like novelty cakes, decorated cookies, and especially for cup cakes. Not only have a series of new pastry shops opened, like Synie's (on the same street as the Ecole Ferrandi, by the way), Cupcakes and Co, Berko, Chez Bogato or Coupefoudre and Sugarplum, but well-known pastry shops have also followed step : Ladurée (in a more elaborate style), the bakery at La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marché.
Some of these new shops are quite gifted from the marketing point of view. The stores are usually cute : they are nicely decorated, the display is lovely, often in a sweet, girlie way ). Mostly they seem to know how to catch media attention and manage to get a lot of coverage in the press.

Chez Bogato is the place I like best and probably the one which has attracted the most publicity. It was in charge of some of the deserts at la Fondation Cartier for the opening of an exhibition on "Graffiti" in 2008. Also, Chez Bogato has managed to provide its decorated cookies at Glou, a restaurant in the Marais I particulary like and where I had lunch recently in November.
Rose Bakery, however, has become since November the caterer for the café of the wonderful art foundation, La Maison Rouge, (Rose Bakery is not "into" cupcakes but still it provides a very English or American type of desert). Rose Bakery, as one knows, is probably one of the oldest bobo brunch places on rue des Martyrs in Paris 75009.

This cup cake fashion is refered to in the press as the "cakista movement". And indeed the shops that make this kind of deserts are almost all owned or managed by women. The customers they seem to want to draw are young or less young females, Hello Kitty fans, and upper middle class families with children, if one is to judge by the cakes and the other products sold in the shops. Indeed, next to the cupcakes, which come in all sorts of delightful colours, they sell a wide variety of knick-knacks also in all sorts of delightful colours: pastry gadgets, cupcake ear-rings, macaroon keychains, éclair charms, bibs, ... in pink, lavender, buttercup yellow...
One has the feeling, when one enters these shops, of stepping into a a girlie girl world since they are all "sugar and spice and everything nice".
But these shops probably don't think of themselves as real "pâtisseries" since the cakes they make are not made by real "pâtissiers" (the know how for baking a cupcake is really minimal) and most of these "cakistas" have never really worked in pastry making and come for the world of advertisement, fashion etc. The tastes the "cakistas" cater for are those of the kindergarden and not of the serious pastry eater who knows his baba au rhum and his Paris Brest, who has tried and compared the different kougelhopfs or tartes au citron in Paris;
So time will be up one day, I think, for this playful type of nursery food; and the nice ladies who manage these shops will have to think of what will take the customers' fancy next. Pies, as the New York Times' article says? Maybe.
So: "A vos tartes, ladies!"

PS : watch the video "How to make a perfect pie crust" on the site of the New York Times' article. At first, the way the perfect housewife in the video lines her pie left me non-plussed , then thinking about how Yukiko (my friend, the "tourière") would react if she saw it, started to laugh.

Addresses :

Berko, 23 rue Rambuteau Paris 75004. Tél : 01 40 29 02 44

Chez Bogato
, 7 rue de Liancourt, Paris 75014. Tél: 01 40 47 03 51

Coupefoudre, 39 bis rue de Montreuil, Paris 75011.

Cupcakes and Co, 25 rue de la Forge Royale, Paris 75011. Tél : 01 43 67 16 19

101 rue Vieille du Temple, Paris 75003 . Tél : 01 42 74 44 32

La Maison rouge, 10 Boulevard de la Bastille, Paris 75012. Tél :01 40 01 08 81

Rose Bakery
, 30 rue Debelleyme, Paris 75009. Tél : 01 49 96 54 01
Rose Bakery, 46 rue des Martyrs, Paris 75009. Tél : 01 42 82 12 80

Sugarplum Cake Shop,
68 rue du Cardinal Lemoine, Paris 75005. Tél : 01 46 34 07 43

Synie's, 23 rue de l'Abbé Grégoire, Paris 75006. Tél : 01 45 44 54 23

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