| October '06
Having your cake
If you have ever been to a local wedding in Saint Barth, you will have noticed that there is not just one wedding cake, but multiple wedding cakes. In fact, sometimes there are one or two tables full of them, beautiful cakes in various shapes and sizes, ranging from small hearts with the names of the bride and groom in pink frosting to towering confections with plastic ramps for running water connecting smaller cake wings to a larger central cake. Upon arriving at a wedding reception, slices of cake and glasses of champagne are immediately offered to all guests (any food, such as soup, sandwiches, or local specialties such as blood sausage, are served later in the evening).
A wonderful baker by the name of Marie-Marcelle, a Saint Barth native who lives in Lorient, makes the majority of these cakes. She also bakes for baptisms, birthdays, anniversaries, and other festive occasions. She made my own wedding cake: a large white “basket” full of colorful flowers, with the basket made of woven white icing and the bouquet a variety of sugary flowers. But she has a specific problem. There is no place to buy certain kinds of baking supplies in Saint Barth. On an island where opulence reigns, and luxury boutiques compete for tourist dollars, some of the more simple things in life are hard to find. Especially when kids want cakes in the shape of Thomas The Tank Engine or The Little Mermaid, or Spiderman or Winnie The Pooh, or the latest cartoon character to catch their imagination. Where do you find all the necessary items, from silver foil to line cake plates to various colors of icings and gels, to character cake pans, candles in the shape of soccer balls or Harry Potter’s magic wand? Very simple indeed: The Wilton cake catalog. The problem is that Wilton will not ship outside of the US and there is no local distributor. Enter yours truly. For many years I have brought bags and boxes of baking supplies to Saint Barth for Marie-Marcelle, who has repaid the favor with cakes for our anniversary or a fancy one bearing the logo of the Saint Barth Film Festival. This summer things got a little more complicated. I was already in Saint Barth and Marie-Marcelle needed a rather large order. I thought perhaps my daughter Rachel could bring it when she came in August but she already needed a few camels to bring all the rest of the stuff we had sent to her house, and August was a little late in the wedding season. So my friend Frank stepped in to save the day. We had Wilton ship the order to his home in LA (all three boxes) and he took them directly to Fed Ex once they arrived. And presto, two days later all was on the island. It took a lot of coordination but that is sometimes what it takes to get things done on a remote tropical island. So let them eat cake, we’ll keep the supply lines open!
More to come,