Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mao Shan Wang Mooncakes From Prima Deli

When it comes to mooncakes, in recent years, I have become somewhat jaded with what has been on offer. One one hand, you have the hotels who is bent on coming up with even more insane flavors and variations of this simple dessert.

On the other hand, you have 80 or 100 year old shops touting how mooncakes that are handmade are still the best, and to be perfectly honest, I have never subscribed to either faction. That is why, this year, I have decided to write about something in-between.

That middle ground has always been the likes of F&B franchises that does a lot of bakery and the likes of this include Bakerzinn and Prima Deli. I personally feel that the hotel mooncakes are way overhyped, and too much emphasis on novelty flavors and packaging.

And while the handmade mooncakes like the ones that Tong Heng make are commendable, they lack the precision baking and making process that larger companies do. And yes, they do not taste that much better in my humble opinion.

A mooncake is a commoditized product these days, and what matters is consistency and taste. And that is why I was surprised to find the mooncakes from Prima Deli to be of a general high standard all round.

Royal Gift Set

In terms of packaging, it is simple and understated. Yet it looks elegant and appropriate. The Royal Gift Set would make an excellent selection for gifts to friends and families this year.

It is a selection of 9 different snowskin flavors which Prima Deli has meticulously researched and even conducted blind testings on, and it clearly shows in the final product.

In particular, the cranberry cheese snowskin was a superb standout. It was like having a mini cheesecake in a snowskin encasing, and the flavors worked very well. The fruity flavors of the cranberry blended amazingly well with the sweet cheese filling.

There was also a D24 mini snowskin that was every bit as good as the Goodwood Park version. But alas, I would be talking about the Mao Shan Wang mooncake later on, which is available separately.

Other highlights in this set included the excellent black sesame with mochi, which had this lovely burnt aroma, the the strawberry chocolate which should not have worked but it did, and the interesting raspberry truffle which was not overly sweet as I feared, but nicely balanced in terms of sweetness and flavors.

Lotus Paste with Egg Yolk

But I had to taste the regular mooncakes to see how it would fare as this is the original mooncake after all. And to be my delight and surprise, it passed with flying colors.

Visually, it looked appealing, the artwork clearly carved out and unlike some 100 year old handmade shops, everyone single one looked perfect without a hint of blemish. The crust itself was nicely baked to near perfection, and beautifully flaky to the touch.

The lotus paste was thankfully not overly sweet and coupled with a fresh salted egg yolk, this is a classic mooncake done just right. Sometimes I think having a pool of resources to do mooncakes is still better than handmade ones, and this goes to prove this point utterly.

Mao Shan Wang

The star of the Prima Deli mooncake range, however, has to be this gorgeous built snowskin that was filled to the brim with Mao Shan Wang durian goodness. Again, visually appealing, and it was almost intimidating when compared to its D24 cousin.

Taking a bite into it, all sense of intimidation would quickly fade away, and you will be left with a wave of durian nirvana exploding in your mouth. Take care to consume this not too icy cold, as you can taste the durian flavors much better, and it will likely come across as more intense as well.

Great Value Mooncakes

There are other selections available, but for my money, the Royal Gift Set which retails at S$38 is really superb value for money, and would make a great gift during this period. 

The classic mooncakes, as I have mentioned, are really well made and would be perfect for the older generation who still prefer having mooncakes the traditional way with tea.

For those who have not gotten enough of durians this season, the Mao Shan Wang is a no brainer. Each full size MSW snowskin will set you back about S$17, but it is worth it. And it is also apparently, a limited edition so it may run out earlier.

Finally, a word of advice from yours truly. Do not buy into the hype of the chain hotels or the handmade shops you find in Chinatown. Try something that you might not have thought of, and you might find yourself pleasantly surprised.

Available at all Prima Deli Outlets

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