Saturday, 21 September 2013

Mia's Review: Mooncakes!

Even though I'm not a fan of mooncake at all, I still do buy them every year. :p 
and this year, I decided to splurge a little to buy one box for myself on top of the box I'll buy my grandma every year. 

No brownie points for guessing that I've gotten myself chocolate mooncakes. 

I first came across Chocoelf on bongqiuqiu's instagram, whereby she posted on their sugar-free snowskin mooncakes. Obviously attracted by the name chocoelf, I did some research and also asked for opinions online and got some really head scratching reviews, claiming that they're 100% sugar and sugar substitute free, is not sweet at all, and yet taste very nice. 
Giving up on these reviews, I decided to grab a box and try them out for myself. My verdict? Read on.

 A box of their chocolate skin mooncake comes with 3 round mooncakes and 10 small rectangular ones, priced at $58. Even though labelled as sugar-free, and claimed as free of substitutes by some people online, I've confirmed with their sales person (twice) that Chocoelf uses a sugar alcohol, Maltitol, as their sugar substitute.
The 3 round mooncakes consist of Dark Lotus, Vanilla Lotus, and Cabernet Red Wine Lotus. The minis are supposedly filled with a blend of cranberry & macademia nuts white lotus.
Sounds really good, with an awesome variety, yeah? Sadly, no. Perhaps in terms of appearances and supposed ingredients, chocoelf chocolate skin mooncakes offer us an awesome variety. But focusing plainly on taste, none. I'm sorry to say that all 4 flavours of mooncake tastes almost exactly the same, crumbly lotus paste filled pralines. 

I'm not sure if it's because the lotus paste is sugar-free, but they are really very crumbly and significantly rougher in texture as compared to any other normal mooncakes in the market, which basically kinda 'cheapen' the taste. 
As opposed to reviews stating they're not sweet, I'm sorry to refute them as a load of crap. 
THEY ARE SWEET, just not horribly sweet like some mooncakes in the market that makes you cringe. The chocolates skin basically just taste like any other good quality chocolate, with the dark chocolate being short of the bitterness I was expecting (and would have enjoyed) and the white chocolate being sweeter than the rest. As for the sugar free lotus, they're just rougher in texture, more crumbly, and significantly blander and less sweet in taste compared to a normal lotus paste.

 Cabernet Red Wine Lotus
 Dark Lotus
Vanilla Lotus

As seen from the pictures, all different flavours comes with nuts (all macademia, i reckon) with only the minis and the cabernet red wine lotus having extra cranberries. Even so, there are a good amount of minis I've eaten with no taste/findings of cranberries at all, with meagre amount of chopped macademia nuts within. I can hardly taste the difference between them as well, with the Vanilla Lotus being slightly easier to differentiate due to the white chocolate taste. The Cabernet red wine lotus somehow tasted the best out of the 4 flavours, however with the taste being so remotely similar to the dark lotus that I couldn't put the taste into words at all. And nope, even though named as Cabernet Red Wine Lotus, I didn't pick up any hint of wine taste in the mooncake. It's really just normal chocolate taste combined with some very much less sweet lotus paste, same for all the 4 flavours. 
In addition, the mooncakes are also extremely small. Minis aside, the round mooncakes, which I've expected them to be a 'standard' mooncake size, are slightly smaller in diameter and less than half the thickness.

So, $58 for a box of pralines with 'cheap tasting' lotus paste filling? 
You'll be the judge. 

 Aside to Chocoelf I've bought for myself, I've also bought Peony Jade's Teochew Orh Nee Mooncake for grandma, after seeing their brilliant review on Channel 8 TV show. 
I guess the show really worked its wonder, for when I went to Taka Atrium, they're completely sold out. Undeterred, I made my way to Century Square Atrium and they were only left with plain ones, no yolk no pumpkin paste. :(
I didn't try these out for myself, because it's for my grandma and I'm not a fan of yam paste either. However, feedback from my grandma is that their skin is very thick, which she didn't like. Nevertheless, the yam paste is not too sweet and is relatively smooth. 
She gave me 1 brownie point for buying the plain ones and not the yolk ones (actually is because there's only plain ones left...) for her because according to her, yam paste and yolk makes a horrible combination. 

Grandma has already requested that I buy her Tai Chong Kok baked skin mooncakes for her next year. *rofl*
Helped my parents buy their baked skin from there (my mum asked me buy cheap bengawan solo ones, but I went ahead to buy TCK ones because it's really just a few dollars more with my 20% card discount promo) and my mum was raving about how fragrant they were. It's also a rare chance my dad actually did eat a bit of the yolk inside for TCK's one. He detests yolk because of the raw 'fishy' smell but TCK's yolks apparently were well-done to be able to get rid of that smell.

Now my question is, I know TCK has split up and branched into 2 different shops. So all those hardcore mooncake fans out there, which branch is the better one?
Do leave your opinions in the comment box for my mooncake shopping next year! :)

Till then, 
Mia

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