Last week, we held a Tea and Mooncake event at the tea studio to celebrate the 2022 Mid-Autumn / Moon Festival (Sat Sept 10). Being one of the most significant and important holidays in the Chinese calendar, we wanted to celebrate this time of the year by bringing tea lovers together to enjoy a few different types of mooncakes alongside a course of fine Chinese teas as well.
The general theme for the tea and mooncake pairings this year was "harmony". Given the occasion – the Mid-Autumn / Moon Festival being a time of family reunion and harmony, we figured that would be our guiding principle to judge if a pairing worked or not. And we're happy to report that it did!
Here are the four tea and mooncake pairings we served at the event.
White Lotus Paste w/salted egg yolk x Bamboo Forest (Red/Black Tea)
We started things off with a traditional Cantonese White lotus paste mooncake and paired it with our Bamboo Forest, non-smokey Lapsang Souchong Black tea. The depth and body of this black tea helped to cut through the rich, sweetness of the mooncake to produce a smooth, harmonious texture and feeling when they were both paired. The light citrus and malty notes of the tea also lingered on the palate, and were heightened when paired with the sweetness of the lotus paste.
Five Nut Mooncake x Tuo 2008 (Ripe Pu'erh Tea)
I have to be honest, the Five nut mooncake isn't a favourite of mine. It often is strange mix of sweet and savoury that I'm not really a fan of when it comes to mooncakes. However, being another very traditional style of mooncake that contains a great deal of symbolic importance (the five nuts represent five key virtues – benevolence, righteousness, wisdom, courtesy and trust), I figured it's an important mooncake to include in the mix.
So the goal was to pair it with a tea to make it enjoyable, even for me – and the perfect tea it turns out is a Ripe Pu'erh, in this case, Tuo 2008. The dark, earthy flavours of a Ripe Pu'erh helped to reduce the "strange" flavour that's typical of this mooncake and actually made for a very smooth and harmonious combination. The candied mandarin in the mooncake also served as a nice accent to compliment the tea, and the crunchy and chewy texture of the mooncake also paired quite well with the earthiness of the Ripe Pu'erh.
Lava Custard Mooncake x Concrete Jungle (Raw Pu'erh Tea)
After two courses of fairly traditional style mooncakes, we moved on to something more modern. The first of our modern style mooncakes was a sweet, Lava Custard mooncake. This mooncake, like the others is quite dense and sweet and had a taste and texture similar to a custard fudge cake. Definitely a lot more dessert and cake-like than the traditional styles of mooncake. To balance out the rich sweetness of this mooncake, we paired it with a Raw Pu'erh – Concrete Jungle.
A 2016 Raw Pu'erh tea from the Bulang mountains, it's a tea that has great depth, body and a little bitterness to boot. We brewed the tea a little stronger than usual so that the bitterness comes through a little more to cut through the sweetness of the lava custard mooncake. The sweet and bitter flavours of the pairing played off each other quite well, coming together to form another harmonious flavour and texture (notice a theme here with these pairings).
Snow skin Mango Mooncake x Duckpoop Dancong (Oolong Tea)
Snow skin Mooncakes are a little different in that they're usually served cold, and come in a range of sweet, fruit flavoured fillings.
We chose a mango snow skin mooncake and paired it with our Duckpoop Dancong Oolong tea. The floral fragrance of the Duckpoop Oolong tea paired really well with the mango flavours, and the fruitiness of the mooncake enhanced the floral notes of the tea. We thought it'd be ideal, after having a series of fairly heavy and strong flavoured mooncakes, to finish off the event with something more refreshing and light.
We had a lot of fun putting together the event and sharing tea and mooncakes with other tea lovers at our tea studio this year, and it seems, a great time was had by all. The question is, how are we going to top this year's event next year? I guess we have another year or so to figure that out.