Nfld. & Labrador

Newfoundlander offering sweet treats at Paris bakery

A woman originally from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's is teaching Parisians a little bit about North American sweets in the cupcake shop she opened last fall.

Parisians learning about cupcakes at Newfoundlander's shop

Bobbie Maker from Portugal Cove has been teaching the Parisians about cupcakes at her shop near the Notre-Dame Cathedral. (Courtesy of Bobbie Maker)

A woman who is originally from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's is teaching Parisians a little bit about North American sweets in the cupcake shop she opened last fall.

Bobbie Maker moved to France when her husband got the opportunity to work in Europe, and she decided to open Bertie's CupCakery, just steps from the historic Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Paris. 

"The Parisians are very loyal to their pastries, but it's been a big adventure here in educating the locals on what cupcakes are," Maker said.

"I often get some of the older women who often pass by with their groups who are going to tea, and they'll come in and will raise an eyebrow."

Cupcakes may be a classic dessert for people here, but it's a fairly uncommon treat in Paris.

"They have no idea what it is. If you're not in the younger generation who's watching North American reality TV and cooking shows, they really don't know what a cupcake is," Maker explained.

"So it's been a great time educating them on what it is, and the younger generation are super excited just to get in and get the opportunity to eat something from North America — this is their thing."

Maker said most people who have tried a cupcake for the first time in her shop have needed some instruction on how to actually go about eating it.

"They don't like to touch their food, as opposed to us, who would usually just rip off that paper wrapper and stuff our face with a cupcake. They would like a spoon or a fork, and you have to give them a little education on how you eat this thing, because they want to eat all of the icing off the top and then eat the cake, but you try to talk them into doing it our way," she said.

Comforts of home

According to Maker, there have been plenty of tourists come into her shop since the summer started. People from North America, Australia, and other places more familiar with the miniature cake stop by for a treat to remind them a bit of home.

A group of school children from Newfoundland's Southern Shore even stopped in for a visit.

"We had a group from Mobile come in back in, I think it was April, and I think I gave them the shock of their life because they came in, they were very quiet, and just afraid to approach me in French and I just kind of gave them a smile and said, 'Are you from Mobile, Newfoundland?'" she said.

"They just went white — they could not believe that someone was talking to them in English and knew where they were from, and that's always been the excitement for me when someone comes in and they're from Newfoundland. I have a Newfoundland sticker in my window."

Many of the off-beat flavours Canadians are used to have not been a hit with the Parisians, but Maker has managed to incorporate some popular French flavours into her cupcakes to appeal more to the locals.

"It's taken some guts, yes, and it's taken some smiles and some laughs to try to convince the very French to try this contraption that I've presented to them," she said.