Best mooncakes of 2015.
The second largest festival for many in Asia will kick of the coming Sunday. Noodlies, Sydney food blog looks at a delicious Moon Festival tradition – the mooncake.
Moon Festival, also known as Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important occasions in the Asian calendar. It marks the end of the harvest season, a time of celebration and plenty. It falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar when the moon is full and bright.
This year, Moon Festival falls on Sunday, 27th September, 2015.
Mooncakes are the most recognisable icon of the season. The outside is cakey, especially ornate and a woody brown, the inside is made up of lotus paste with egg yolks, fancier versions contain mixed nuts or even abalone. These cakes are generally round for Chinese and square for Vietnamese.
Here’s noodlies, look at some of the best mooncakes in 2015 in no particular order.
Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong
From their introduction at one single retail location a decade ago, The Peninsula Hotel mooncakes are now available at 46 retail outlets worldwide. That’s a good thing because they’re already sold out in Hong Kong.
“The trick in creating Spring Moon’s coveted mooncakes is to get the pastry just right. It should be light and delicate, but strong enough to withstand the baking process” says Chef Henry Fong, from Peninsula Hong Kong’s restaurant Spring Moon.
“Owning the first recipe for egg custard mooncakes, which was created by Yip Wing Wah, Dim Sum Ambassador of The Peninsula Hotels, The Peninsula Hong Kong’s Cantonese restaurant Spring Moon offers the most sought-after treats for the Mid-Autumn Festival every year since its opening in 1986. The mini egg custard mooncakes are freshly made in Spring Moon’s kitchen and contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients”.
This year’s highlight is the new limited-edition LED-lit lantern gift box, featuring an assortment of mini mooncakes, including egg custard, white lotus seed paste with yolk, golden lotus seed paste with yolk and a brand new filling – chocolate custard. With two pieces each, nicely presented in four trays set within an LED-lit, laser-cut lantern, it’s easy on the palate as well as the eyes!
These coveted moon cakes are still available from other Peninsula Hotels including New York, Chicago, Shanghai and Tokyo.
Four Seasons, Hong Kong
Taro and salted egg yolk (above) is the latest addition in a selection of favourite mooncake offerings. This new cake balances the salty flavour of the egg yolk with the slightly sweet and velvety smooth texture of taro. Chinese Executive Chef Chan Yan Tak thoughtfully selects the finest taro from Thailand, where he finds this tuber has a more concentrated flavour with a light, fluffy texture, perfect for kneading fine, silky dough. This delight is certain to sate the appetite of taro lovers.
Old favourites and new classics combine with the Assorted Mini Mooncakes box. Flavours include the white lotus seed with preserved egg and pickled ginger and five nuts and glazed ham, complemented by the new taro and salted egg yolk. It is the perfect treat for those who want it all.
Not to be missed is the highly sought-after cream custard with toasted pine nuts mooncake, a delicacy created by Chef Tak every year since the Hotel opening.
All Lung King Heen mooncakes are handmade by the restaurant chefs with no preservatives. The cakes are elegantly presented in a gift box newly designed by the locally renowned Alan Chan.
Grand Hyatt Singapore
Grand Hyatt Singapore enters this year’s Mid-Autumn festival with a modern twist, offering five new and unique snowskin mooncakes that include: strawberry, lime margarita truffle; thousand flower blossom honey truffle (above); black sesame, Buddha’s hand truffle; Maotai, dark chocolate truffle; and peanut butter, sea salt truffle. All mooncakes are crafted by the hotel’s pastry artisans and are 100% preservative-free.
The thousand flower blossom honey truffle mooncake (above) features subtle snowskin flavour with hints of lavender coupled with the natural sweetness of honey from wildflower nectar.
They have a selection of more traditional mooncakes. Baked to a luscious shade of brown, enjoy classic flavours of traditional mooncakes such as red lotus single yolk with roasted melon seeds, white lotus double yolk with roasted melon seeds, white lotus with roasted melon seeds, and sesame lotus single yolk with bamboo ash.
Housed in a signature acrylic gift box, the mooncakes are complemented by a refreshed design that features a vivid blend of colours that is set to delight any recipient.
New this year is the delicately-crafted snowskin tea mooncake collection featuring aromatic blends of earl grey and baileys truffle with white lotus paste, Japanese matcha, oolong with black sesame paste, and delicate rose with white lotus paste and pistachio. Durian lovers will swoon over the Mao Shan Wang snowskin mooncake.
InterContinental Singapore’s 20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (above) is a delightful assortment of four baked mooncakes in a distinctive satin box bearing artist Jacqueline Goh’s exquisite illustrations. Only available in this series is the baked mooncake with chestnut paste. Other mooncakes in the collection include double yolks and white lotus paste, assorted nuts and baked maple glazed Shanghai with single yolk.
Mooncakes in Australia
Australia doesn’t miss out thanks to the range of Casahana mooncakes which comes in traditional tins through to some elegantly modern designs (above). There’s an amazing range of flavours from traditional; pure lotus with yolk, golden mixed nuts to more contemporary; pandan, citrus red bean, scarlet snow (which features rose petals), even German Black Forrest.
The Dainty Delight mooncake box (above) looks like an elegant hand bag and opens to reveal four individually packaged mooncakes.
The double-layered Ethereal Moon box (above) makes a jaw-dropping, conversation-stopping gift. Watch the unboxing video above to grasp the full extent of the presentation box. Premium gold look, butterfly boxes, contemporary illustrations all combine to make this a gift which everyone will be impressed with.
Australia’s biggest mooncake
Moon Cake lovers rejoice! Traditional mooncakes are always a highlight, and this year’s Cabramatta Moon Festival attendees will be able to witness an Australian record setting attempt with the largest baked mooncake. This is an event not to miss and is presented by event sponsor St.George Bank.
With over 50 stalls and restaurants offering delicious mouth-watering foods, Fairfield City Council’s 2015 Moon Festival will have you indulging in some of Sydney’s most authentic cuisines and flavours.
One of South East Asia’s biggest celebrations, the Moon Festival will provide plenty of fun for all the family with a full program of entertainment and activities including gourmet food and market stalls and cooking demonstrations.
Mayor of Fairfield City, Frank Carbone, said the Moon Festival showcases our City’s authentic and delicious foods and cultures.
“My Kitchen Rules 2014 cooking sensations Uel and Shannelle are bringing their cooking skills to the Mekong Mounties Group Stage this year. The duo will cook up a storm showcasing their culinary tips and tricks at 11.45am and 3pm, or don’t miss the chance for a photo with them at the Meet and Greet tent at 1.30pm.”
For those with a sweet tooth, Sydney’s famous bearded bakers from the Knafeh Bakery will be sharing their families’ best kept secrets – delicious Jerusalem desserts!
“We are very lucky to have the hottest food truck in Sydney at this year’s Moon Festival in Cabramatta. Their repurposed shipping container will be at the Railway Parade from 9am until the fireworks finale at 8pm. Take a seat on one of their crates and enjoy the sweet tastes of Knafeh.” Mayor Carbone said.
The festival will include crowd favourite competitions such as the mooncake eating, noodle eating, prawn peeling and children’s chopsticks competitions. A new, exciting challenge coming to the 2015 Moon Festival is the wrapping of the spring roll competition; the first person to roll all ingredients without any tears wins.
Here’s the full program of Fairfeld City Council’s 2015 Cabramatta Moon Festival (click to enlarge).
Acknowledgements: The Casahana moon cakes are courtesy of the lovely friends at Amyson. St.George is a client. All photos supplied.