The Most Interesting Mooncakes of 2012
The iconic mooncake, a dense parcel of sweet pastry and unctuous fillings, is no stranger to the whims of culinary fashions. Traditionalists may eschew the substitution of lotus seed paste with chocolate ganache, or that of classic lard-heavy pastry with chewy mochi skins, and this year’s offerings will probably not please them either. But with classic mooncakes widely available, we’ve turned to the chefs and restaurants that are bringing new facets of flavour to this most traditional of mid-autumn treats. From aromatic black truffles to single malt whisky, here are some of the more unexpected mooncakes on the market.
Shang Palace’s Mini Custard Sauternes Mooncakes
At the Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel’s Shang Palace, Master of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee and renowned Sauternes producer Château Guiraud have collaborated to create a sophisticated mooncake that appeals to sweet wine connoisseurs. The recipe incorporates Château Guiraud’s Petit Guiraud, their second wine from the highly-regarded 2009 vintage, which perfumes the mooncake’s milky custard filling with its floral bouquet and subtle sweetness. Lee emphasises the osmanthus, honey and dried fruit flavours that run through both a chilled glass of Sauternes and the delicate custard mooncakes. The Sauternes mooncakes are priced at HK$288 for eight pieces or HK$538 for a dozen, and are available until 30 September.
For more information, please call Shang Palace on +852 2733-8401.
Harlan’s “Precious Gems” Mooncakes
Harlan’s at The One shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui opts for the hard-hitting combination of deluxe ingredients and classic appearances. On the outside, the mooncakes resemble traditional variations, the golden-brown pastry casings revealing nothing about the surprises within. Opt for a heady filling of Italian black truffles and French foie gras, blended with a rich egg yolk custard, or the sweet-and-salty pairing of 36-month air-dried Iberian ham with lotus seed paste.
Harlan’s mooncakes are priced at HK$278 to HK$298 for half a dozen. Orders placed before August 31 will receive a 20% discount.
For more information, please call +852 2972-2222.
Bakerzin’s Heavenly Collection Mooncakes
For the first time, Singaporean dessert chain Bakerzin is bringing its signature line of creative mooncakes to Hong Kong, available now in Sogo and Taste supermarkets. The range includes the likes of durian or black sesame “snow skin” mooncakes – here meaning crisp white chocolate rather than chewy glutinous rice – but it’s the Heavenly Collection that makes us perk up: alcohol-based combinations include brandied cherries or rum-soaked raisins encased by sweet lotus paste, pink champagne with a chocolate truffle centre, and single malt whisky with chocolate truffle. Bakerzin’s mooncakes cost HK$350 for eight pieces (two of each flavour).
Yan Toh Heen’s Homemade Mooncakes and Mooncake-Making Class
The InterContinental Hong Kong’s signature Chinese restaurant is hosting a one-off mooncake-making class on September 22, where guests can learn how to make custard cream and gold dust mooncakes, using hand-churned French Bordier butter and Shizuoka eggs. Personalised mooncake moulds can be ordered in advance. The class (conducted in Cantonese, with English translation available upon request) is bookended by a dim sum brunch and mooncake tasting with tea, where yuzu-custard and almond, and Iberico ham with mixed nut mooncakes feature – these can be bought home as gifts, too. The mooncake- making class must be booked by September 10 (priced at HK$1,288 per person); if you don’t make the deadline, then the custard cream and gold dust mooncakes can be bought for HK$248 for six pieces. Orders between 15 and 20 boxes receive a 10% discount; 26-50 boxes receive a 15% discount; 50 boxes or more receive a 20% discount.
For more information, please call +852 2313 2323.
Coco’s Designer Mooncakes Collection
Mira Hotel’s café-patisserie in Tsim Sha Tsui debuts a series of stylish mooncake-inspired confections, each representing the flavours of China, Japan, France and Thailand. Executive pastry chef Jean-Marc Gaucher has crafted eight chocolate mooncakes, including La Rose (representing France), a blend of hazelnut, almond and orange ganache with rose marshmallows, vanilla biscuits and caramel milk chocolate; and The Golden Mandarin (China), offering a citric burst with dried mandarin peel, orange biscuit and mandarin dark chocolate ganache. While these may only be mooncakes by name and not by nature, the combinations are undeniably intriguing. A set of four mooncakes are available for HK$318, while individual mooncakes are priced at HK$98 each. Orders up to 20 boxes before August 31 will receive a 10% discount, orders above 21 boxes will receive a 15% discount
For more information, please call +852 2315 5566.