|Some cupcakes for the Camp...|
When I first went to
New York for college orientation, there were the typical events: ice breakers, class scheduling, new friends, and of course the obligatory trip to Magnolia’s Bakery, a minor institution in the at the time. The pilgrimage down West Village Bleecker Street was the first of many that I’d make for the beloved cupcake, a childhood treat that I was tasting in a whole new light. Little did I know what I had gotten myself into.
Paris meant leaving behind , Magnolia’s, and the flood of other cupcake boutiques that had begun to open as the trend boomed. But New York was not without its share of butter, sugar, and vanilla. Cupcakes weren’t exclusively a New York item, and in 2010, fancying myself a journalist, I began a quest to interview the cupcake bakers of the City of Light, an endeavor that brought me to the likes of Alisa Morov, Synie Georgulas, and Cat Beurnier. Paris
After the article didn’t get picked up by any papers – favoring instead a less comprehensive albeit adorable article, but I take no offense – Cat emailed to ask me what I thought about a new idea in
. She wanted to take cupcakes and make them social, to build a community, and to raise money for charity. Riding on the coattails of the successful San Francisco-based Cupcake Camp, a derivative of the Bar Camp model, she asked me to organize it with her. The fateful February 25th email read: “Okay I may be going out on a limb here, especially since I know you are working on so many different things but I wonder if you wouldn't want to come on-board as an official co-organizer?” Paris
|Hard at work with friends...|
As a young expat with few friends, the prospect of building a community around cake was a no brainer. The answer was yes. After a grueling inaugural event in the summer of 2010, Cupcake Camp Paris was back this past Sunday, the second edition was bigger and better than we could have ever imagined. Along with our third organizer Nicolette, another cupcake enthusiast, well over 400 people descended on Le Comptoir Général by the Canal to purchase, taste, and share over 2200 cupcakes.
|Inside at Cupcake Camp Paris 2011...|
Between the contests, the prizes, and the sheer number of adorably decorated cupcakes, the two hours passed like lightning. It was a whirlwind of English and French-speaking cupcake lovers, new faces, people I had only ever conversed with by email, and a slew of devoted friends who lent a helping a hand during the entire day. That young expat a year ago without a community suddenly found himself surrounded by one – even if they were hopped up on sugar.
By the end, people were still walking in from the street, asking if they could buy that last salted caramel cupcake or if there were any chocolate ones left. Participants lined the Canal with their white boxes full of cupcakes, enjoying the last rays of the late summer sun.
Once the crowd left and the clean up crew came in, Cat, Nicolette and I shared a glass of beer at the end in the now-empty venue. We had raised roughly 5000 euros for the Make a Wish Foundation, money that would go towards fulfilling the dreams of terminally ill children. Community. Charity. Cupcakes. Let’s do it again sometime, shall we?