Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Szechuan Court's Mooncakes

Apart from Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the other important holidays in the Chinese calendar as farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season. This is also a day where Chinese family members and friends get together to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, eat moon cakes and pomeloes together.

In addition, this festival is often associated with the legends of Chang E, the mythical Moon Goddess of Immortality and was officially declared as Mid-Autumn Festival during the Song Dynasty.

As this festival is often linked to a full moon, the salted egg yolks in traditional mooncakes symbolize the full moon and in Szechuan Court's snowskin mooncakes, the pastry chefs adopt the use of circular chocolate truffle to house its chocolate ganache and the original mooncake filling, the lotus seed paste (蓮蓉) in their creations.

Mooncakes from Szechuan Court

This has been my personal favourite for the past 2 years and the snowskin flavours available at Raffles the Plaza focused on alcoholic flavours ranging from Baileys, Champagne and Rum & Raisins. A box of mini assorted mooncakes with 2 pieces of each flavour, including its new creation for this year (Feuilletine-Hazelnut with Wafer Crunch Nuts), costs $48+.

Feuilletine-Hazelnut with Wafer Crunch Nuts

Having eaten the fruity fillings of Goodwood Park, flavour-infused lotus paste of Carlton Hotel, Raffles the Plaza presents a different approach for this year. This pinky new creation hides a gem that is unlike their alcoholic variations. Surrounded by the lotus paste, its white chocolate ball houses a blend of swiss chocolate swirl with crunchy wafer-hazelnut bits, providing a crunch that most chocolate hazelnut-praline cakes will have.

Cross section

The core of each mooncake contains the alcoholic goodies and (from the left, Rum & Raisin Chocolate Truffle, Champagne Truffle & Chocolate Ganache and Feuilletine-Hazelnut with Wafer Crunch Nuts) don't be misled by the humble looking ganache. This smooth ganache is highly concentrated with alcohol that is bound to surprise you but beware not to pop too many in a go as these treats are heaty.

Champagne Truffle mooncakes lovers will be puzzled with their available choices. Apart from Raffles the Plaza, this flavour is also available at Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant of Sheraton Towers Singapore Hotel and other hotels. Not to miss the fact that this is Raffles Hotel's signature. Given that we have eaten Raffles Hotel's and Raffles the Plaza back to back, here are the differences.

Raffles Hotel has its champagne infused in the white lotus paste while Raffles the Plaza encased its champagne ganache in the white chocolate shell. In terms of the strength of alcohol, Raffles the Plaza is alot stronger than the former. Instead of champagne ganache, Raffles Hotel has a non-alcholic white chocolate core which is not as smooth as Raffles the Plaza. However, Raffles Hotel triumphs for a softer snowskin and smoother lotus paste. Thus, we thought the choice is clear.

As for Li Bai's Champagne mooncakes, I guess I will pick up during the Takashimaya fair (17 Sept 09 to 4 Oct 09). Note that the mooncakes are devoured on the 5th Sept 09 so Li Bai's entry will be lagged.

Szechuan Court
Swissôtel The Stamford, Singapore
2 Stamford Road
Singapore 178882
Tel: 6338 8785
Hotel's website
Mooncakes 2009 ordering form

6 comments:

ice said...

I tried both Raffles Hotel's & Raffles the Plaza's champagne truffle. Agree that the former is definitely much better. The snowskin is alot softer & overall nicer (& more expensive).

Fen said...

I saw your recommendation on HGW and was glad to try Raffles Hotel's this year...

By the way, Champagne truffle is also available at Li Bai (Sheraton) and Peony Jade, heard any reviews about them? Tried Shangri-la's Champagne truffle and was disappointed...

Arh, yr current craving is Godiva's mooncakes, let me know how is it if you happen to try them. They look classic but I presume they are expensive...

ice said...

Nah, I'm not the sort to go around buying mooncakes, I just wait for gifts. =)

As for Goodwood's snowskin, I was quite disppointed. The skin gets hard when chilled, ditto for Da Zhong Guo's & Raffles the Plaza's. For good snowskin, I personally like East Ocean's custard. I tried Bakerzin's black sesame truffle, it's pretty good, the black sesame is quite fragrant. Pink champagne not bad too. Worth a buy.

Fen said...

Haha, before blogging, I will only get a box of East Ocean's Custard for my family while my daddy will get some baked mooncakes for praying.

My mooncakes spree started after receiving a box of Goodwood Park and Carlton mooncakes. I got hooked onto eating the various flavours... Thus increasing my spending on this festive goodies...

But then again, mooncakes are meant to be gifts... Lucky you to receive your favourites from friends and family =)

Surprise to hear that Goodwood's snowskin disappoints you. I thought it was quite soft but then again, the box of mooncakes I received was in July, not sure has bulk production reduces the quality. Anyway, I am getting the durian and 金华火腿 next week, hopefully the snowskin won't disappoint :(

I tried 大中国's snowskin last year and it was really good.

Raffles the Plaza disappoints this year as I had it back to back with Raffles Hotel. Nice on its own but when compared, the latter triumphs in its texture...

East Ocean's custard disappoints this year too, the skin is alot tougher among the entire lot I have tried this year. On the contuary, I thought Hua Ting's custard mooncakes were better...

Hmm... BakerZin... I tried their baked mooncakes last year but thought 大中国's were better... Don't think I will want to spend anymore money on mooncakes after this weekend. Will just wait for the vendor to give...

ice said...

Wow wow I just had Raffles the Plaza's champagne truffle & chocolate ganache again. Think I change my mind... it's divine! The champagne truffle within is so strong & good! Will blog soon, when I get down to taking a picture of it. :)

I've also got East Ocean's snowskin.

Fen said...

Yea, the ganache is very potent... Though the lotus paste is rich enough but I thought the skin is not soft enough to my liking. It is nice but eating with Raffles Hotel's back to back, I definitely prefer the latter...

I gave East Ocean a miss this year. For custard snowskin, Hua Ting @ Orchard Hotel was good... For green tea snowskin, I swear by Summer Pavilion @ Ritz Carlton...

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