Mooncake season is upon us again, and it’s that time of the year when I brace myself for a season of excessive calorie consumption. Because they’re so ridiculously calorie-laden, I try to limit myself to just one ‘brand’ of baked mooncakes each year, and one snowskin. For the past few years, it’s been half a box of the Raffles Hotel Mother of Pearl mooncake with single yolk and white lotus paste (I share a box with my brother), and for my snowskin quota, the Szechuan Court assortment (2 each of 4 varieties they have each year).
Alas, after I placed my early bird orders (to take advantage of various credit card discounts), I discovered that Jewels Artisan Chocolates was making a salt caramel truffle snowskin mooncake this year! Finally! Just when I was lamenting that someone should take on this very logical flavour – after all, most mooncakes are based on a sweet-salty pairing, what with lotus paste and salted egg yolk. Of course, I expected Canele to be the ones to step up, but I was more than eager to give Jewels a try.
For my first few bites, I had some reservations. It was my first mooncake of the season, and I was comparing it to the memory of last year’s. I thought that while the salt caramel chocolate truffle was excellent (they are chocolatiers, after all), I somehow felt that the lotus paste and the snowskin paled in comparison to some of the more established mooncake makers.
However, after trying Szechuan Court’s this year, I’m actually changing my mind. Their snowskin isn’t as thin and fine as I remember, so after sampling both this year, my vote actually goes to Jewels. The snowskin is so thin that it's almost translucent, and while I’m not the most keen on the melon seed slivers within the lotus paste, overall I really like the combination of the salt caramel truffle with the lotus paste. And most importantly, kudos to them for not being timid with the salt – there’s nothing I hate more than hesitancy and reservation when creating a salty caramel.
This year, Szechuan Court’s 4 flavours are Baileys, Rum and Raisin, Champagne and, the new flavour this year, Organic Muesli. They were a tad disappointing this year, though I must say they’re not shy with the alcohol for the truffles. If you like your chocolate truffles with a good dose of booze, then these are the ones for you. Otherwise, the only one that I like this year is the Rum and Raisin. I may have to rethink them as my default snowskin choice in future.
Of course, mooncake season isn’t complete without the traditional baked variety, and in my opinion the best one in town is Raffles Hotel’s Baked Mother of Pearl Mooncake with Single Yolk and White Lotus Paste. The skin is really thin and moist, not dry and crumbly, and the filling is extremely fine, probably due to the pearl powder mixed into the paste that gives it its name and signature texture.
I think mooncakes are way overpriced. Pass.