Happy Moon Festival indeed!
I'm kicking off the round-up of mooncakes this year with something sunny instead - pineapple cakes! SunnyHills has new packaging for the Mid-Autumn festival and it is absolutely adorable.
A whimsical nod to the Chinese folktale of the moon rabbit.
Each box also comes with a cute and highly reusable linen bag with the same motif of bunny and the bright full moon.
The lining of the box is yellow instead of the usual vermillion. This box of ten pieces goes for S$25, a box of 15 pieces is S$37.50, and a box of 20 is S$50. Delivery and order details here. You can visit their shop on the third floor (#03-05) of Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade as well, to enjoy a warm cup of Taiwanese oolong tea and a pineapple cake, on the house.
Oh, those delicious ingots of naturally sweet and tangy sun-ripened pineapple encased within that fragrant buttery crust. Still my favourite pineapple cake ever.
Oh by the way, they have pineapple juice now (pack of four bottles S$35.20) too. Pure juice, nothing added to it (no sugar, no preservatives, no artificial anything). Quite refreshing on its own and great for making pina colada or other drinks. I particularly like that the glass bottle was specially designed to be drip-free. Good for storing water in the fridge too. Again, very reusable!
Think different this season for gift-giving? Spread some SunnyHills sunshine instead! After all, moonlight is secondhand sunlight, reflected off the moon...
Yes, now on to the other mooncakes. In alphabetical order:
THE CHINA CLUB
The China Club mooncakes come in the most sturdy and exquisitely fashioned packaging. I saw the premium packaging in the shape of a Chinese porcelain vase at the Chef Alvin Leung event. Everyone thought it was a real vase when it was being passed around. And this one above is their traditional packaging in the shape of a somewhat shortened pipa or Chinese lute. See how it instantly transforms boisterous tomboys into melodramatic bard-wannabes?
With such well-crafted boxes, I had thought these mooncakes would have a price tag of three digits at least. But they range from S$55-70 (member price) or S$65-90 (non-member price) for a box of six. The mooncakes are a little bit smaller than the usual box of four variety though.
I like how the mooncakes are stamped with the signature China Club star icon. Their baked mooncakes include flavours like orange walnuts paste, and seaweed lotus paste with pine nuts (not too overpowering). The new snowskin range features water chestnut with corn paste, matcha kumquat lotus paste with single yolk and champagne ganache. You can pick an assortment to put in the box.
For orders, call China Club at 6820-2388 from 9am to 9pm (Mon-Sat). You can pick up order forms from the restaurant itself at 168 Robinson Road, #52-01 Capital Tower, Singapore 068912. Last order date is 24 Sept 2012.
Crystal Jade has some nice limited edition packaging with lids of silver and purple silk adorned with a jade-like seal and tassels. These luxurious-looking boxes look perfect for gift-giving and definitely should be re-used to store your favourite baubles, trinkets or festive tidbits.
This Premium Gold Treasure (right) is S$88 for four pieces of gold leaf stamped mooncakes in traditional flavours (red/white lotus paste with double yolk, plain white lotus paste, mixed nuts and ham).
The Quartet of Happiness (left) is a more casual gift box (S$46 for four pieces). There is another mooncake gift set called Magnificent Five (not pictured) at S$68 for five pieces.
I do like the Kindred Bliss (S$22 for box of four pieces) range of yogurt pudding "mooncakes". These are chilled jelly-like desserts with a firmness somewhere between pudding and konnyaku. Flavours include Mango, Mixed Berries, Apple and Original Yoghurt with Nata De Coco. These are only available at selected Crystal Jade My Bread outlets.
There are altogether 23 mooncake varieties along with festive Pen Cai (Treasure Pots) available now at most Crystal Jade outlets. I really like the traditional flavours (white lotus paste with yolk, mixed nuts and ham); those are very good. The funky new "conpoy paste" mooncake I'd say is an acquired taste. Perhaps some will like the savoury and slightly spicy creation, but I'd say seafood best belongs in soups and cooked dishes.
For orders, check with Crystal Jade outlets or call their Mooncake Hotline 6512-0800 9am to 6pm (Mon-Fri).
Prominent durian cake maker Emicakes has come up with, well, no surprise - durian mooncakes. The box is a pretty one, with a manga-esque female character on the cover.
These Mao Shan Wang mooncakes are quite delicate and not too pungent. Large ones go for S$73.80 for a box of four. Check out their website for locations and order details - there's even a contest going on for a free iPad when you buy their durian mooncakes.
Jiang-Nan Chun at the Four Seasons Hotel has one of the most elegant box presentations. The qipao theme on the box matches the decor at the restaurant too.
I like the low sugar pu-erh tea infused mooncake with pine nuts (left) and the silver lotus paste with single yolk. They are fairly dense and firm in a good way - not too oily!
The full list of flavours is online. For orders, contact Jiang-Nan Chun’s hotline at 6831-7220.
Man Fu Yuan
Man Fu Yuan, which I blogged earlier here, has this gorgeous Mao Shan Wang snowskin mooncake. It's premium durian plus cream from the king of coconuts blended into a luxurious pulp. It's their first durian mooncake and lots of R&D went into ensuring that the skin doesn't get too soggy as the mooncake thaws.
It's available in a box of four pieces (S$54.80), or as part of the Snowskin Mooncake Collection (S$51.80) which also features Green Tea Paste with Dragonball Jasmine, Lotus with Macadamia Nuts and Sesame Paste with White Sesame Seeds.
I have always found their baked mooncakes pretty good - thin skin, smooth filling and well-balanced flavours. This year's packaging is an elegant purple and gold box.
Mooncakes are on sale at the Teahut, located at the hotel's Bugis Junction entrance from 10 August to 30 September 2012, as well as at major shopping malls. Call 6820-8519 or 6820-8520 for more details.
Peony Jade bills these as Ex-Crown Prince Hotel Flaky Teochew "Orh Nee" mooncakes. They come with fragrant golden pumpkin (S$30 for two pieces; S$55 for four pieces) or single yolk (S$32 for two pieces; S$56 for four pieces) centres. Flaky they certainly are, and best eaten slightly toasted and warm.
Pardon my awful mooncake cutting skills. I think these were a bit too soft when I attempted to slice them. But the mini snowskin top grade "King of Kings" durian mooncake (foreground, S$88 for 9 pieces) will really take your breath away (and maybe replace it with superdurian breath). The bamboo charcoal snowskin envelops beautifully bittersweet pulp from Pahang durians.
I also like the mini snow skin with sea salt caramel and dark crunchy chocolate pearls (centre above). The mini champagne truffle and ganache snowskin mooncake (top/background) is also not too bad. Both S$58 for 9 pieces.
photo courtesy of Peony Jade
What I did not get to try are the world's first 3D Angry Birds mooncakes - there are only 3,000 sets of these! The limited edition Angry Birds mooncakes are filled with Peony Jade's popular egg custard filling with crust made from natural fruit flavours like blackberries and blueberries.
Call Peony Jade’s mooncake hotline at 6659-8871 / 6570-5604 / 6570-5640, or visit
www.pjmooncake.com to place your orders.
TWG Tea has come out with some unusual creations featuring tea-infused flavours. The snowskin ones are so unlike mooncakes, they are better seen as desserts shaped like mooncakes.
For example - "Secret" (foreground) is a lavender mousse infused with White Secret Tea and chocolate chips sprinkled around a heart of chocolate and apricot. "Immortal" is a pastel pink mooncake filled with mousse of rice pudding and gingerbread infused with White Immortal Tea, pistachio popped rice and a tangy heart of raspberry and chocolate. All these are infused with Yin Zhen (silver needle) white tea.
Choose from the midnight blue Silver Mooncake or burgundy Singapore Breakfast Tea Mooncake gift boxes. A boxed set of four mooncakes (with knives and forks) is priced at S$48. Or go for a boxed set of any two mooncakes, a TWG Tea Haute Couture tin of Silver Moon Tea or Singapore Breakfast Tea (100g), a reusable cotton tea filter, plus knives and forks at S$68. Mooncakes retail at S$15 individually.
Check them out at TWG Salons islandwide (ION, Republic Plaza, Marina Bay Sands and Takashimaya).
And with that, I hope everyone has a beautiful mid-autumn festival, enjoying lanterns, cakes, and good company!