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Mid Autumn Mooncake Mania

 

 

The traditional Chinese treat becomes much tastier to eat in 2012!

 

During the Mid Autumn Festival, Chinese people buy all kinds of these snacks to give as a gift to their family, friends and loved ones. As a symbolic offering which dates back to ancient times, the mooncake is a seasonal favourite that continues to evolve almost as quickly as China itself. Traditionally they are made with a light, flaky pastry and contain fillings such as white lotus or sweet bean paste. Nowadays the demand for exquisite styles, unique tastes and unorthodox fillings is forcing chefs all over China to be ever more creative with their offerings. We toured Tianjin’s finest mooncake outlets to give you some firsthand advice on where to buy your tasty mid autumn treats this year.


First stop on the tasting tour was The Westin Hotel. This year the Westin’s ranges have a lot of variety. The two sets on offer, both consisting of 8 stunning pieces, are the Premium Moon (CNY 298) and the Prosperity Moon (CNY 598) collections. The more expensive option is a great gift idea as it comes in a beautiful red package which would make a superb women’s jewellery box after the recipient has devoured its original contents. In terms of the mooncakes, while the Dried Scallop with XO Sauce may only suit the taste buds of seafood enthusiasts, the Green Tea Lotus Paste cakes are guaranteed to get you excited. The other options are also rather tasty.


On to the St. Regis Hotel- which this year has expanded its range to encompass the Children’s Delight set for just CNY 128. The 4 tasty cakes in this set are more than enough to satisfy youngsters with a sweet tooth. They also offer the Deluxe Box- 6 cakes for CNY 228 and the Luxury Package which has 8 pieces and costs just CNY 328. The mooncakes on offer at the St. Regis are truly spectacular. The more traditional Washed Red Bean and the Whole Grain cakes are both great sweet snacks. The Low Sugar Pumpkin flavour offers a healthier alternative for those looking to avoid piling on the pounds during this Mid Autumn Festival. But the king of confectionaries at the St. Regis this year has to be the Tiramisu mooncake. This coffee flavoured sensation is a candidate for mooncake of the year anywhere in town!


Tianjin’s famous cultural and historical site Qing Wang Fu offers dessert lovers the chance to simultaneously enjoy stunning mooncakes and take in the wonderful surroundings of the formal royal residence. The delightful on site caf茅 is home to one of the finest confectionary chefs in the province. The 4 cakes in his range this year are the traditionally savoury Pandan, Sweetened Bean Paste, Five Kind of Nuts and Pineapple flavours. Nut lovers will obviously enjoy the Five Kind of Nuts, while the Pineapple mooncake, a Taiwanese speciality, will satisfy any sweet tooth in town. A full gift set will set you back CNY 328.


As Mid Autumn Festival gets closer, gift shoppers and dessert enthusiasts won’t have to look far to get their hands on delicious mooncakes this year. Many local bakeries and restaurants will stock their own offerings. Even coffee shops are getting in on the action. Starbucks has its own range which is absolutely out of this world in terms of taste and at CNY 368 for an 8 piece set, it’s an absolute bargain. Their cakes diverge somewhat from the traditional crunchier recipes and offer consumers a smoother, sweeter alternative. Flavours include Wild Berries & Cheese, Pumpkin Latte and Cranberry & White Chocolate.


Whether you want to celebrate this year’s Mid Autumn Festival in authentic fashion by gobbling mooncakes until they are coming out of your ears, or you simply want to buy your Chinese friends, family and colleagues a nice gift set, all of these venues offer you the opportunity to pick up some great treats and indulge in some festive luxury.

 

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