Monday, 23 September 2013

Mid-Autumn Festival

Nothing says Mid-Autumn Festival in China like mooncakes.

I say this because I know exactly nothing else about the "holiday", and it seemed more like an excuse to take one day off (which you later have to make up, on your own time, over the weekend... because logic...) and either 1. drink more, or 2. spend more time at home shopping on Taobao, according to your country of origin. I do know, however, that the gifting and eating of mooncakes are always used to celebrate this somewhat strange semblance of a holiday.

For the uninitiated, "mooncakes" are traditionally round pastries stamped with auspicious symbols, and can be stuffed with sweet (lotus or red bean paste) or savory (meat, salted duck eggs) fillings. They typically run about 1,000 calories. No, seriously. I am anything but a calorie-counter, and these things mean business.

Recently, because showing off via gifting is such a big thing in China and also because I'm guessing everyone got tired of the same ol' beany/eggy calbombs, confectioners have gone rogue with their 'modernized' mooncakes, filling them with anything from truffles to abalone to solid chocolate. I loved Haagen-Dazs' take - ice cream sandwiches with some fancy patterned wafers. A very loose interpretation, but delicious nonetheless.

When I heard the crazy cats at Strictly Cookies were creating their own version of the delicacy for the holiday, I knew I had to place an order and STAT. After being away all summer, I had a severe cookie deficiency and needed to replenish my stores.

I had been discussing ordering a box of their "Mookies" with a friend, and both of us recognized it would be game over if either of us were locked in a room with 12 of the things, so we decided to be matoor adults and split one box between a few of us. The box was delivered (and hidden from me - awkward), the predetermined night came, and all of a sudden, Mid-Autumn Festival began to feel a lot like Christmas.

Cue child-like clapping.

As any amateur scientists/Mookie taste-testers can tell you, you must be meticulous when comparing the various flavors of Mookie. We had our knives at the ready to examine the interiors and wine of some questionable vintage as a palate cleanser - we're pros.

The selection entailed:

- Chocolate chip with chocolate brownie
- Chocolate with peanut butter
- Purple potato with white chocolate
- Sugar with red bean
- Peanut butter with raspberry jam
- Chocolate with caramel

photo by Shanghai Girl Eats on Instagram

Between the 6 different flavor/filling combinations, there was absolutely something for everyone, although I think we all agreed that the chocolate/anything combo and the clever take on a PB+J were group favorites.

Although you might have to wait until next year for more Mookies, Strictly is still slinging killer cookie combos at their (still new-ish) shop Nom Nom, as well as chez Avocado Lady and online at Nosh.

I'm just happy I finally understand what this holiday is all about.

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