We are nine months into 2018 and this season typically heralds the arrival of the Midautumn Festival. As I’m putting this issue to bed, my team and I have already nibbled our way through at least 40 new variants of mooncakes since the beginning of June. Each other day would bring with it a mystery box delivery: there was no guessing what new-fangled flavour we were about to get. Baked, snow skin or ice cream? Vodka or gin infused lotus paste? Spicy hae bee hiam or foie gras and truffle oil? Perhaps as a nod to our soaring temperatures, citrusy flavours like yuzu and pineapple continued to be star ingredients in almost every hotel’s marketing collaterals.
Mooncake packaging designs have increased several notches above boxes that double up as jewellery cases or photo frames. The stakes get higher as the innovations get fancier. This year, hotels, restaurants - and even coffee chains - are outdoing each other with premium LED boxes that cost almost as much as the delicious content inside. I admit I was impressed by Crystal Jade’s collaboration with Disney, which resulted in a rose gold musical carousel mooncake tin that lights up from within. Played to the tune of Mickey Mouse March, the tin is not only an entertaining toy for young kids it also evokes nostalgia for the adults.
While I love the inventive mooncake flavours that chefs constantly come up with to satiate consumers’ demanding palates, my all-time favourite, however, is (and will always be) the piglet mooncakes. Yes, those cute-as-a-button mascots of the Mid-autumn Festival encased in mini red or pink plastic baskets. It also reminds me of a happier, simpler time when paper lanterns were considered cool and just the thought of walking around the neighbourhood carrying them would get kids excited for days before.
What’s your favourite Mid-autumn tradition? Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
This issue, we worked with Barcelona-born chef Carlos Montobbio of Esquina restaurant who whipped up a Catalan feast.