With the dreaded haze hanging thick upon us, it might be hard to gaze at the moon. However, nothing embodies the spirit of the Mid-Autumn festival like the mooncake which traditionally harbours a rich creamy yolk mirroring the brilliance of the full moon in all its glory. If you're looking for the perfect gift to bestow upon your loved ones this season, consider these perennial favourites and innovative newcomers that come packed in some of the most exquisite and unusual gift boxes of the lot.
The box: Crafted to resemble a Chinese lantern, this contemporary take on a traditional icon of the festival takes us back to our childhood where we would tote candle-lit paper lanterns around the garden.
Mooncakes to order: The dark chocolate snowskin mooncake spiked with orange grand marnier is a perennial favourite that delivers a deliciously boozy hit. This year, Marina Bay Sands' Executive Chef Christopher Christie has also rolled out a new snowskin mooncake that combines a white chocolate ganache centre with Malibu rum, macerated maraschino cherry, and a tropical showering of candied coconut flakes.
Available from SweetSpot, Marina Bay Sands
The box: Embellished with delicate floral motifs, each box opens up to reveal four or eight drawers that harbour four regular-sized or eight mini mooncakes. Handsome top-handle straps make it easy for you to whisk the box from place to place.
Mooncakes to order: If you're going for the regular four-drawer box, opt for the Shang Palace Four Treasures assortment of baked mooncakes that range from the classic white lotus seed paste with single yolk to one with mixed nuts and chicken ham. The cream-coloured eight-drawer box lets you choose from eight mini baked mooncakes that come in baked castard or salted kumquat and egg yolk.
Available from Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
The box: As the iconic hotel turns 20, they've birthed a commemorative mooncake box that pays homage to the facade of the historic Bugis district. Local artist Jacqueline Goh lends her whimsical touch to the illustrations on the box — one that manages to even capture the intricate details of Peranakan tiles lacing the hotel's facade.
Mooncakes to order: Any flavour from the hotel's inaugural snowskin tea mooncake collection. Think black sesame paste accented with oolong; white lotus paste perfumed with rose and pistachio; and white lotus paste paired with Early Grey and Baileys truffle.
Available at InterContinental Singapore
The box: Modeled after palatial treasure chests, these mooncake boxes from the St. Regis' award-winning Cantonese restaurant comprises a top compartment and front drawer that easily doubles up as a jewellery box after the mooncakes have been devoured. Whether you choose to go with the striking crimson red or royal blue exterior, you'll find both boxes embellished with delicate motif embossments.
Mooncakes to order: Get your antioxidant fix with the cranberry paste snowskin mooncake paired with a salted egg yolk centre. Durian lovers are also well catered for with snowskin mooncakes generously filled with the pungent, creamy flesh of mao shan wangdurians, no less.
Available at Yan Ting, St. Regis Singapore