I'm not much of a desserts
person (though I've found that as I grew older, I've grown to love sweets more) but flickr
's invitation for a photography cum mooncake & wine pairing session at St. Regis
sounded too interesting to pass up. Apparently, part of the selection criteria was that we had to be Singapore food bloggers who use flickr
and link back to our flickr accounts
. I've heard that St. Regis carries an interesting selection of fusion snow skin mooncakes, which sounded appealing as I prefer snow skin mooncakes to traditional baked mooncakes.
I was expecting a fairly large crowd so I was surprised to discover that it was a small and cosy affair held at Yan Ting
, the Cantonese restaurant. Thankfully, my fellow bloggers (most of whom I already knew) were a fun bunch. MilkMilk
, Recent Runes
(whom I met for the first time) were great foodie companions at the event.
We were hosted by Wye Leng (Director of Marcom), Lorraine (Senior Marcom Executive) and Danny (Yan Ting's Manager & Sommelier) from St. Regis. The Yahoo! team that invited us to this event was represented by Suzanna (Yahoo! flickr) and Michelle (Yahoo! Answers).
Our hosts had decided to pair the mooncakes with gourmet teas from Damman Frères, a brand of premium teas that is carried exclusively by St. Regis, instead of wine. I was grateful for the switch as I prefer to drink tea to wine. Besides, I always thought that mooncakes went best with tea. Danny walked us through the entire pairing session. He got us to start with the mildest tasting mooncake first and work our way to the stronger tasting ones. How similar to cheese appreciation! He described the ingredients that went into each mooncake. He also explained why he selected a particular blend of tea to complement each mooncake. It was a very interesting experience.
Almond Snow Skin with Premium Bird's Nest & Custard Paste
@ S$228 for a box of 8 mini mooncakes
We started with the snow skin mooncakes as they were lighter in flavour and texture to that of baked mooncakes. First up was the Almond Snow Skin with Bird's Nest & Custard Paste. This was the most expensive mooncake in their menu. It was opulently embellished with an edible gold leaf on each mooncake. Apparently the filling (look at the centre of the halved mooncake) consists of a single strand of good quality bird's nest. The bird's nest added a candy floss-like texture to the smooth and light custard filling that was encased by a soft, pliable snow skin casing (similar to marzipan). The snow skin dough was delicately flavoured with fragrance and flavour of almond milk (a Chinese drink that is used to relieve coughs and phlegm). This mooncake was paired with a fragrant cup of Chrysanthemum & Wolfberry Tea. Interestingly, chrysanthemum is also used by Chinese to relieve a sore throat and general "heatiness" whilst wolfberries are to enhance the immune system and improve eyesight.
Seven Perfumes Snow Skin with Single Yolk & White Lotus Paste
@ S$48 for a box of 8 mini mooncakes
The second mooncake on our "Eat List" was the Seven Perfumes Snow Skin with Single Yolk & White Lotus Paste
. This mooncake was named after the Seven Perfumes blend of Damman Frères
tea. This blend of Chinese and Ceylon Teas is flavoured with lemon, bergamot, fresh fig, lotus flowers, pitanga/Cayenne cherry, orange peel and sprinkled with rose petals (red and white roses).
Looking at the glistening brown skin, I couldn't help but note the absence of a light dusting of white powder that one usually finds on snow skin mooncakes. Danny began to explain to us that the snow skin's brown colour was due to the infusion of the black tea and that it was not a baked mooncake. He then went on to talk about how the snow skin mooncakes at Yan Ting do not require a dusting of "Kou Fen" (fried glutinous rice flour) to prevent the skin from becoming too sticky because their chefs have perfected a technique whereby the skin is not excessively sticky while remaining pliable.
The skin was deliciously scented with the delicately floral and fruity qualities of the Seven Perfumes tea. Coupled with the sugar-free white lotus paste and a rich salted duck's egg yolk, this was a winner for me. Do note that whilst the filling in this mooncake is sugar-free, the skin contains sugar so its not recommended for diabetics.
Almond Snow Skin with Advocaat Egg Liquer Truffle
& Black Sesame Paste
@ S$42 for a box of 8 mini mooncakes
Next, we tried the Almond Snow Skin Mooncake with Advocaat Egg Liquer Truffle & Black Sesame Paste. This has to be the most interesting mooncake for the evening. The core of this mooncake was a white chocolate truffle shell filled with blended salted egg yolk, egg custard and Advocaat liquer (contains eggs, sugar and brandy). The truffle was a delightful mélange of sweet, alcoholic, salty and eggy flavours. It blended well with the smoky black sesame paste and delicate sweetness of the almond snow skin. This is definitely a Must-Try!
Bloody Mary Snow Skin with Custard Paste
@ S$42 for a box of 8 mini mooncakes
Then we came to the Bloody Mary snow skin mooncake. This mooncake was created as a tribute to the iconic cocktail that was first concocted at St. Regis Hotel, New York. I was apprehensive about how this mooncake would taste. It did not taste as bad as I thought it might. Upon biting into this mooncake, the palate is assaulted with a medley of flavours: sweet, tart, savoury with a spicy afternote. Apparently this flavour is a hit with the press but I'm not a member of the press, I'm simply a person who loves to eat. I took a big gulp of tea to cleanse my palate in preparation for the next mooncake.
Seven Perfumes Snow Skin with Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac Truffle
& White Lotus Paste
@ S$68 for a box of 8 mini mooncakes
This was another variation of the Seven Perfumes Snow Skin Mooncake with White Lotus Paste. The first thing that hit me when I bit into this mooncake was the alcohol from the Cordon Bleu truffle. I'm not much of a drinker, thus I found the alcohol level in this mooncake to be a little too high. I could not discern the flavour of the tea in the snow skin and could barely taste the lotus paste. If you love your cognacs, this is definitely the mooncake for you.
Almond Snow Skin with Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac Truffle
& Custard Paste
@ S$64 for a box of 8 mini mooncakes
Then we came to the innocent looking variant of the mooncake above. The alcohol level was even stronger in this mooncake. Apparently, the dense lotus paste of the earlier mooncake made it difficult for the alcohol to permeate through the entire mooncake. That was not the case with this mooncake as the egg custard was a perfect medium for the alcohol flavour to pervade the entire mooncake. I guess it makes sense since eggs typically absorb flavours even when stored in the refrigerator.
Slices of 5 of the 6 types of snow skin mooncakes on my plate.
The Potent Threesome
Baked Single Yolk & White Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake
@ S$48 for a box of 4 mooncakes
Moving on, we came to the baked mooncakes. Thankfully, Danny started serving Aged Pu Erh which had a slightly astringent flavour to cut through the heavy and sweet flavours. I do not like baked mooncakes as they tend to be denser and sweeter in flavour. I tried the white lotus seed paste mooncake and found the paste to be very smooth, a little less sweet that many other varieties out there but it was still not my cup of tea.
Baked Single Yolk & Golden Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake
@ S$48 for a box of 4 mooncakes
Danny explained to us that the same ingredients are used to make the White Lotus Paste, Golden Lotus Paste and Red Lotus Paste. The differentiation in colour and flavour is due to the caramelization of the sugar in preparing these pastes. The darker the colour, the greater the caramelization resulting in a smokier flavour. I ate a tiny piece of the Golden Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake but as I'm not into sweets, this was too sweet for me.
Baked Mooncake with Jin Hua Ham, Assorted Nuts & Seeds
@ S$64 for a box of 4 mooncakes
Then we came to the traditional Cantonese favourite. A baked mooncake stuffed with bits of Jin Hua Ham, assorted nuts & seeds. I've never liked this particular flavour of mooncake but Danny was quite convincing so I tried a little. The distinctively smoky, salty and sweet flavour of the Jin Hua Ham imparted a pleasant flavour to this crunchy mooncake. Evidently, they had used very good quality Jin Hua Ham in the preparation of this mooncake.
Baked Double Yolk & Black Sesame Paste Mooncake
@ S$52 for a box of 4 mooncakes
Finally, we came to the Baked Mooncake with Double Yolk & Black Sesame Paste. I took a tiny slice and found the smoky flavour of the black sesame paste to be interesting but I still prefer snow skin mooncakes to baked mooncakes.
For a person who generally doesn't like to eat much mooncakes, I must have eaten my 2 years quota of mooncakes in one sitting! What was just as amazing was the amount and varieties of teas that we had. The picture above was taken halfway during the session.
The bowl in the picture above contains dried orbs of good quality Pearl Jasmine tea. It was one of many premium quality teas that we drank at this session. What better way to pair good quality mooncakes than to pair them with good quality teas?
This picture was taken at the end of the session. Check out the number of teacups on my half of the table!
We were introduced to the chefs during the session. From left, Chef Lee, Danny Chan and Chef Chan. Thank you, St. Regis
for an educational and fun-filled evening.Yan Ting
29 Tanglin Road,
Telephone: +65 6506-6866
Daily: 11.45 am to 3.00 pm & 6.00pm to 11.00 pm (last order @ 10.30pm).
Mooncakes available @ :
Yan Ting : Daily during opening hours (until 14 Sep 08)
St Regis Hotel Lobby: Daily 11am - 9pm (until 14 Sep 08)
Retail Booth @ Change Alley: Mondays - Fridays from 11am - 7pm (until 12 Sep 08)
* UOB Credit Cards : 15% discount on mooncakes