So this past weekend I participated in this event called the ‘Window Bakery Collection.’ For a bit of background info, the WBC was created a few years ago by a group of small independent bakeries/cafes to showcase specialty artisanal breads, pastries, coffee beans, chocolates, and ddeok. It’s all planned and organized by the participating companies, in partnership with Sinsaegae department store. The event goes on for one weekend and it’s entirely free to the public and you get to go around each booth tasting free samples. There was a total of 12 participating companies this year and amazingly, I had the honor of being one of them! As a homebaker who doesn’t even have my own storefront, I felt completely honored and also unworthy because the other participants are so well-known and established in the community and I respect them sooo much. Like Pain de Papa bakery, May Bell Bakery, and Libre Coffee Roasters in particular. Despite the language barriers and me feeling shy and awkward most of the time, everyone couldn’t have been more kind and welcoming.
Here are some photos of us in the planning process (I’m in the pink top). We look so serious, haha. We met up almost every week for about 1 1/2 months… Most of these people already know each other since they have been organizing this WBC for a few years now. As one of the newbies, they gave me so much encouragement and support, and I just feel incredibly lucky just to be in the vicinity of their company.
So anyway, flash forward to this past weekend. Early on Saturday morning, I lugged all my baked goods and supplies to the Sinsaegae department store to set up my booth. I had to frost most of my cupcakes on-location because I didn’t want to risk them getting damaged during transportation, so it was a stressful morning trying to get everything set up in time. But when it finally got done, here’s what it looked like:
The all-vegan Alien’s Day Out booth. I made a bunch of cupcakes and cookies for the display, and then behind that wooden partition we hid a huge stack of carrot and red velvet sheet cakes for the samples.
My winter themed cupcake display. If anyone’s wondering, I got this polka dot cupcake tower from here. It’s made of cardboard, not plastic and it’s collapsible for easy transportation. Love it.
Red velvet cupcakes, frosted by Gnoa. She not only helped me with frosting, but she provided all the cake trays and christmas tree ornaments! My booth would’ve been so boring and ugly without her help.
Poop cupcakes again. Das how i do~
As soon as the doors were opened a whole swarm of people flooded in and started to line up at every table to taste the samples. Hehehe. You can barely see me peeking through the heads. Do you see the fear in my eyes? haha.
Talked to a bunch of people who were curious about vegan baking and what I do. I also met some other Korean vegans who specifically came out to try my vegan treats. :) But enough about me. Here are some of the other participants:
Piaf (a chocolate shop) had chocolate spread for people to sample. Too bad it wasn’t vegan, but it looked creamy-delicious. The pretty lady with the firey torch is from DesserTree, a studio cafe around Gangnam. There was also a gorgeous ddeok booth, but I didn’t get any photos of it. Argh, sorry. :(
And in the middle of the room, there were two coffee booths.
Here’s the sharply-dressed Coffee Libre crew doing their thang. Coffee Libre is one of the best independent roasters in Seoul and have a loyal cult following. They know everything about beans, roasting, brewing, dripping, espresso machines, aeropress, etc. They don’t take themselves too seriously, but they don’t mess around when it comes to coffee!!
The one and only Revolucion espresso machine, designed and made in Korea. Coffee Libre showed off its beast of a machine for the coffee geeks, and ofcourse their handsome baristas for all the laaadies~
The adorable MOMOS crew all the way from Busan. For all you coffee drinkers down south in the Bu’, MOMOS is the place to get legit coffee.
The theme of this season’s WBC was ‘Communication though 5-senses’ (basic translation). The idea was to not just let people taste samples, but to give them a more complete experience and to learn more about each of our different crafts, whether it be how to brew the perfect cuppa coffee, or how to temper chocolate.
Yea, I also did a presentation about the basics of vegan baking and vegan substitutions. That’s me in the dark top and my chef friend is translating for me. I was rather unprepared but despite all that and my fear of public speaking, I made it though alive. I just wish my Korean was better so that I wouldn’t have to rely on a translator. Maybe it’s time I learn some proper formal Korean. People’s responses were also really positive though and it’s really clear that Koreans are becoming more and more interested in the vegan lifestyle and vegan baking.
A mochi ddeok demonstration by Biwon ddeok house. 비원떡집
Anyway, the whole thing was a blur. I knew there would be a lot of people, but I don’t think I was fully ready for just how many…. Once things got rolling I barely had time to sit down and I didn’t even leave my booth except to take one quick walk around and snap a few random shots for the blog. I really wish I had taken more photos now….. especially more of the other amazing booths. I plan on eventually hitting up all the actual store fronts so that I can do them justice in a proper blog post. Something to look forward to, yay!
Once it was over, I was completely exhausted, but so happy too… Like we had accomplished something pretty cool, ya know? I have to say, I did feel a lot of pressure the past month and was stressing out about it, but now that the WBC is over, I feel a big weight off my shoulders and I can finally relax a bit. :) I’m happy that I can get back to regular life and my normal schedule.
I’m so grateful for this experience and I have so many people to thank: Everyone who came out to support me, the head organizers of the event who invited me to be a part of it, and all the helpers (students from a baking school) who volunteered their weekend to hand out samples and talk to the people. This was by no means a one man show. And I also owe a huge thank you to my mom, and also to Gnoa from Botton who helped in so many ways. When I think about how much everyone did for me, I get a little teary eyed and I just want to hug the world. Thank you~~~ xoxo