A cake walk through central Italy with @SugarBraun, the ultimate in edible luxury.
“What is inspiration? It’s not enough!” says the New York City-based sugar artist Margaret Braun. “I want to harness a flavor, or look, or sound and I want to share that with people.” Braun, who began as an aspiring artist toiling full-time in bakeries in the ’80s, soon combined uncommon colors and forms with confections, and became a self-made designer of works that fuse culinary arts and fine art. Her designs have included 2,000 individual desserts for a royal wedding in the Middle East, a mosaic-like treat for a Venetian masquerade ball and a hand-painted, 28-foot-tall wooden sculpture — that glowed in the dark — for Brooklyn’s Googamooga festival. These labor-intensive sweets, which often include pearl dust and gold leaf, are the ultimate in edible luxury. “Early on I learned how to do great work — and then let go,” Braun says about making beautiful things that have an inevitably short shelf life.
She is currently well into constructing a series of 5,000 all-white cups from sugar, no two alike. “I see them sitting on rocks, or in the woods, or on grass,” Braun explains. She is also planning to publish some sketches (she uses food coloring for drawing) and she continues, increasingly, to teach around the world. This November, Braun has scheduled a “real-time incarnation” of her 2001 book, “Cakewalk — Adventures in Sugar with Margaret Braun,” through Marche, Italy. Participants will admire the art and architecture in Urbino, visit vineyards and hunt for truffles in the surrounding countryside and learn how to translate these experiences to their own cake-crafting. “It’s about synesthesia,” she says, “taking what you see and smell and hear and want to eat — and making it into something beautiful.”