Review: 10 exotic mooncakes to tempt your tastebuds

SINGAPORE - From bite-sized treats to surprising macaron mooncakes, we review some of the best and most unusual mooncakes available this Mid-Autumn festival in Singapore.

If the traditional lotus paste mooncakes aren't your cup of tea, why not try some of these more unusual flavours? Be it macaron mooncakes or mousse-filled treats, these new hybrid mooncakes will allow you to indulge your every dessert whim.

Instead of tried-and-tested flavours, we made sure to pick the most creative mooncake options around for this Mid-Autumn festival.

We did a taste test on 10 boxes of mooncakes; and these are the results:

TWG

These snowskin mooncakes won't just look pretty on the plate; the tea-infused white chocolate mousse within each mooncake is surprisingly light and airy, while chocolate pearls give them that extra crunch. There's also a piece of white chocolate at the heart of each mooncake, which never gets too sweet thanks to its fruity ganache centre. Our favourite: The gold Longevity mooncake, which features a chocolate core with zesty yuzu marmalade.

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Prices: From $15 each to $52 for a box of four TWG Tea snowskin mooncakes. Go to www.twgtea.com for the full store locations in Singapore.


Regent Singapore

With mooncakes being typically rich and dense, bite-sized portions work wonders; we're just surprised that we've yet to see more of these mini mooncakes. Try Regent Singapore's mini gold-leafed amedei chocolate Amarena Fabbri and Grappa mooncake for a brandy kick that's been infused into the smooth chocolate-flavoured paste. The mix of the zesty Amarena cherries and brandy makes this mooncake taste quite akin to plum pudding. Then move on to the mini Bird's nest with custard mini mooncake, which features slivers of bird nest within its oozy custard centre for a decadent, chewy texture.

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Prices: $88+ for the Regent's Gold Treasures box, featuring a box of 10 mini mooncakes; five each of the two flavours reviewed here. Get it from Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road, Singapore 249715, Tel: 6725 3239.

Hai Tien Lo

The golden corn seaweed mooncake has to be one of the most curious flavours we've tried. Its savoury mix of corn and seaweed makes us feel like we're munching on corn chips, except in a dense mooncake paste. Anther more unusual snowskin mooncake option is an aromatic white coffee with red bean paste mooncake; the sweet red bean hides the bitter coffee aftertaste. The doughy exterior on both mooncakes are neither too thick or sticky; the paste gets props too for its velvety-smooth texture.

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Prices: $58+ for a box of eight, with a choice of two flavours like the above-mentioned; other flavours include the osmanthus seaweed and oolong with chrysanthemum paste. Get it at Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039595, Tel: 6826 8240.


Smoulder

They may be best-known for their ooze-worthy lava cakes but now, it seems like Smoulder's just as deft at making mooncakes. Its snowskin mooncakes contain a lotus paste that's nearly as smooth as purée, with a Belgium chocolate truffle centre that escapes the plight of being too cloyingly sweet. The snowskin layer is soft, chewy and not too thick too. The pink Raspberry mooncake gets our vote for its juicy, jam-like paste; the chewy berry bits balance the sweetness of its chocolate centre. The dense texture of the lotus paste also makes this box come closest (after Hai Tien Lo's) to our idea of a snowskin mooncake on this list. Get this, for a sweet compromise between the old and the new.

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Prices: $46 for a box of 8 mini snowskin mooncakes, featuring two each of four flavours: Raspberry, Dark Chocolate, Green tea and Rum and raisin. Get it at Smoulder outlets.


Cherry Garden

For a new take on the durian mooncake, try the Imperial treasure mooncake with mangosteen ring and durian paste. The paste is dense and rich while the sweet mangosteen snowskin complements the piquant taste of this "king of fruits"; perfect for those who love durians.

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Prices: $64+ for a box of eight. Get it from Level 5, Mandarin Oriental, 5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square, Singapore 039797, Tel: 6885 3541.


Peony Jade

You may associate gula melaka (palm sugar) with icy local desserts like chendol but now you can try it in these mini mooncakes: Try the salted gula melaka and Valrhona dark chocolate pearl mooncake from Peony Jade. Featuring chewy coconut bits with crunchy chocolate pearls and laced with gula melaka, it's like a Singapore take on last year's salted caramel craze, now adapted as a mooncake flavour. Some may find this a bit too sweet though, even in its mini size; best had with some tea to wash it down.

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Prices: $48+ for a box of eight. Get it from Peony Jade restaurants; visit the website for more information.

 

Canele

On the outside, these appear just like any other snowskin mooncake, but once you take a bite into its centre, your tastebuds insist otherwise. A mini macaron sits within each of these Canelé mooncakes, encased with layers of white lotus paste. You'll hardly taste much of the lotus paste; instead you get the flaky meringue crust of a macaron, followed by its sweet centre. The fragrance of roses took over once we bit into the pink mini mooncake, just like it would, if we'd tasted a Canelé macaron instead of a mooncake.

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Prices: From $48+ for a box of four, featuring one each of the lemon, cassis and chocolate, rose, green tea and pistachio flavours. Get it from Canelé; go to www.canele.com.sg for the full outlet locations in Singapore.


Bakerzin

It's a mousse cake; and a mooncake. The mochi-like texture conceals Bakerzin's signature Sweet pleasure cake within in this mooncake variant. You'll taste layers of sweet Valrhona chocolate, hazelnut praline, followed by the pailleté feuilletine base (French-style biscuit flakes) which gives it that lovely crunch.

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Prices: $88+ for a box of eight Sweet pleasure snow skin mooncakes. Get it at all Bakerzin outlets from now to September 19, 2013; go to www.bakerzin.com for more information.


Goodwood Park Hotel

For a fruity alternative, check out the new Pink guava with Passionfruit and Rambutan mooncake from Goodwood Park. While the hotel is still best known for its durian mooncakes, its newest creation is a refreshing pick for those who care less for the pungent fruit. This tropical treat features chunky bits of rambutan with a filling that tastes most distinctly of sweet pink guava, in ice-cream form; only the doughy soft snowskin keeps it still within the "mooncake" category.

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Prices:
$26+ for two pieces of Pink guava with Passionfruit and Rambutan mooncake, $46 for four. Get it from Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228221, Tel: 6737 7411.


Au Chocolat

Cheesecake fans should zoom in on this treat. While the Rum and raisin white lotus mooncake still contains a lotus paste centre, its texture comes closer to an "ice cream" cheesecake than that of a mooncake. The rum infused centre, coupled with the raisins and walnuts keep it from being too creamy. Even then, this does get a bit too rich for one to finish; best to share this instead.

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Prices:
$18 each or $68 for four, from Au Chocolat, #01-03, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue, Tel: 6688 7227.

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