My Parisian Restaurant Map

Monday, March 1, 2010

Berko Birthday Cupcakes

On Wednesday it was my birthday, and on birthdays we must eat cake. Blowing out candles is not a
necessity for me, but the cake is, no matter its size, shape or flavor. While in search for cake, my cousin
told me about a new cupcake shop that had opened up on the rue Lepic, right next to the Cafe les Deux
Moulins, aka Ameli's cafe. Cupcakes in Paris are truly a rarity, and I almost didn't believe her. So I told
her to take me there immediately so that we could gorge ourselves on some birthday cupcakes.

What awaited me was too good to be true. The window was full with mountains of colorful cupcakes,
bright reds, blues, yellows, greens and purples, of all different sizes and flavors. Oreo, violet,
blueberry, red velvet with cream cheese icing, raspberry and white chocolate, straciatella, chocolate
mousse, mango coconut, and the list goes on and on. Each one available in mini or regular size, each
one individually decorated in the most creative possible way. I was standing in the shop with my mouth open, basking in the glory of the American cupcake. (Something I do not often find myself doing)

But it's surprising to think that these little cousins to the muffin have never caught on in Europe-and
especially in France, where there is such a huge tradition of pastries, cakes, tarts and everything in
between. I think it has something to do with the colors; the French tend to be against adding food
coloring to their food, so their pastries vary in color depending on the fruit that they are made with
(and I can assure you that the color of a strawberry has nothing to do with the color of red food dye

 But then what about the macaron paradox? The range of colors and decorations of those mini cookie-cakes is just never-ending- so I'm assuming that what matters is that the French use only the color of the fruit to influence the color of the pastry. I don't think they even sell food dye in France. And these cupcakes are much more affordable than most French pastries: 2 euros for a mini, 2.80 for a normal size. Thats the price of an eclaire or a mini strawberry tart. But don't get me wrong; it's very rare that I would chose to eat a cupcake over a strawberry tart. But when it comes to birthdays, a tart just isn't exactly the right receptacle for a candle like a mini cupcake is.

31 Rue Lepic, 18th arr. Paris


  1. It's interesting how cupcakes are now a "designer" dessert so to speak. They used to be fairly awful low quality cake mix abominations for children's parties but now they're becoming a lot more respected as a dessert.

    The London cupcake scene is pretty good. There's two excellent small bakery chains - and

    Hummingbird seems fairly upscale, whereas primrose has more of a little family place. The products are both excellent. Nice packaging too -

    Yay, cupcakes!

  2. Hey Stephen

    Yeah, youre absolutely right. I mean, Berko is considered like super upscale, hip and posh. A place for connoisseurs, if you will.

    So funny when in the US, cupcakes are just ordinary, nothing special kind of treats....I mean here, the cupcake is trumping the eclaire or the cream puff, go figure!!