HAVE you ever tasted mooncake that’s green tea flavored? Or one that’s studded with nuts? Maybe a mooncake with rum wine? Or, even better, a mooncake that has both chocolate and Grand Marnier in it? How about mooncakes that take on pastel shades of green, yellow, pink, peach and lavender?
Growing up in a Chinese family, I have been eating mooncakes since I was a kid. My family, like other Chinese families and clans, celebrate the Mind-Autumn Moon Festival by gathering together to play a dice game called Pua Tiong Chiu, sharing a sumptuous meal together, and giving each other a mooncake. Mooncakes are also given to friends, both Chinese and non-Chinese, to share the happy occasion of the Moon Festival, which takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The mooncake symbolizes longevity and harmony, and, as such, has become the popular pastry associated with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, just as the tikoy is given away during Chinese New Year.
Back then, though, the variations of mooncake that you can have are limited to white lotus seed paste or black sesame seed paste, with one or two salted egg yolks. All of them are oven-baked, so that they come wrapped in a golden brown pastry.
Now, the choices of flavor are endless, and if you happen to visit Mandarin Oriental Manila for your mooncake, you will be having 16 flavors to choose from. Yes, 16 flavors! Mandarin Oriental Manila’s Executive Chinese Chef Hann Furn Chen has just unveiled the 16 variants of his homemade mooncakes, which will be on sale starting Monday, August 19, 2013, until September 19, 2013, at the hotel’s Mooncake Booth at the MO Lounge of the hotel as well as at the first level of Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati, from September 1 to 19, 2013.
Among the 16 flavors of mooncakes that are available at the Mandarin Oriental Manila are eight traditional Prime Oven-Baked variants and eight contemporary Snow Skin variants.
The Prime Oven Baked variants are Prime Red Bean Paste with Melon Seeds, White Lotus Seed Paste with Osmanthus Flower, Green Tea Flavor Lotus Paste with Salted Egg Yolk, White Lotus Seed Paste with Double Salted Egg Yolk, Mixed Assorted Nuts, Imported Chestnut Paste with Pine Nuts, Black Sesame Seed Paste with Sunflower Seeds, and Homemade Milk Custard Paste with Salted Egg Yolk. On the outside, they all look the same, since they are wrapped in a golden brown oven-baked skin.
The Prime Snow Skin (non-baked) mooncakes, which are interestingly colored in light, pastel shades, are Imported White Lotus Seed Paste with Osmanthus Flower (wrapped in a peach-colored snow skin), Imported Green Tea Flavor Lotus Paste with Salted Egg Yolk (yellowish with green specks), Black Sesame Seed Paste with Sunflower Seeds (mint green), Milk Custard Paste with Raisins (lavender), Imported White Lotus Seed Paste with Salted Egg Yolk (off-white), White Lotus Paste and Grand Marnier Chocolate (light gray), Chestnut Paste with Pine Nuts (yellow), and Lotus Seed Paste with Rum Wine (pink).
Made fresh daily, all 16 variants come in large and mini mooncakes, packaged in four opulent, custom-designed MO mooncake boxes that are both elegant and functional – the Oriental Luxurious (four large mooncakes and a tasting pouch each of traditional Chinese Green Tea and Jasmine Tea in a decorative jewelry box) at Php1,888 per box; the Mandarin Deluxe (eight mini mooncakes and a tasting pouch each of traditional Chinese Green Tea and Jasmine Tea in a decorative jewelry box) at Php1,488; Tin Hau Happiness (box of four mini mooncakes) at Php788; and Tin Hau Festival (box of one large mooncake) at Php588.
Exactly what variants of mooncakes go into the gift box is your choice, as all 16 mooncake variants have been priced uniformly.
Mooncake orders are now being accepted via telephone numbers 0917-8353663 or 750-8888 extension 2633, although pickup at the hotel’s MO lounge begins on Monday, August 19, 2013. For a minimum purchase of Php20,000, complimentary delivery is offered to select destinations within Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila and Quezon City. For orders of 30 or more Oriental Luxurious and Mandarin Deluxe boxes, a special discount of 20% will be extended.
Now, you don’t just get to enjoy 16 variants of mooncakes at Mandarin Oriental Manila. You also get to share them with family and friends through gift-giving this mooncake season.
(Mandarin Oriental Manila is located at Makati Ave. corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City, with telephone number 750-8888.)