Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Battle of the Mooncake Macarons : Canele vs L' Operetta


Mooncake Festival is coming and some mooncake lovers must be awaiting the new creations this year. I'm sure many have tried to snowskin or traditional mooncakes...but have you heard of the mooncake macarons? I am not a strict purist traditional mooncake fans because I only go for the pastry skin and not the lotus paste filling. So when out comes the combination of mooncake+macarons...I was eagerly awaiting the day to try them.


This year, 2 companies Canele Patisserie and L'operetta has came out with mooncake macarons. Both challenges the traditional by infusing familiar flavors such as red bean, lotus and yam into the tiny Macaron shell. Some might argue that this cannot be called mooncake at all but if the taste is good, who would reject them?
The beautiful packaging...doesn't it seem like a table of chess?

First up, Canele has come up with 8 limited edition Asian Flavors macarons. Sold in a box, each flavour has 2, so you can get 16 in a box in total. Good for sharing with someone else:) I was surprised that Canele did not publicise this online, so I've put the pictures from it's catalogue at the end of this post for any one who is interested in this.

Teh Tarik
The most beautiful one and can really get the taste of Indian Chai Tea mixed with sweetened condensed milk.
Very fragrant and not too sweet.

Black Gold (Black Sesame)
I've always like anything that contains black sesame paste and its premium black sesame seeds in the macaron shell are crunchy.

Indigo (Orh Nee)
Any Teochew Ornee fans should try this. The cream is not the usual thick,heavy kind of the dessert or in the yam mooncake. This one is soft and smooth.
But be prepared to be surprise by the smell of some vegetables. I later found out from someone who knew how to cook yam paste dessert that actually one of the most traditional way of making this is to stir fry the yam paste with spring onion oil...but nowadays very few would do it this way. Most are mixed with peanut oil instead.

Litchi (Lychee & yuzu)
Could not really spot any lychee pulps in this but being the only fruit version here, this stands out with it's tangy citrusy flavour of yuzu:)

Jasmine(Jasmine Green Tea)
Light subtle perfume of jasmine green tea and is not overly sweetened.

Noix(Nuts)
This is one of my favourite as the smell of peanuts,almonds,walnuts,pumpkin seeds and melon seeds is truly aromatic. They have all been blended so do not expect any bits of nuts in the filling.

Coco ( Gula Melaka )
The sweetness here is not immediate but some sort of an aftertaste dark bittersweetness that is similar to black sugar.
Azuki (red bean)
Though the red beans here have been mixed with honey, the sweetness is a lot milder than those we find in the traditional mooncakes. Be delighted to find soft steamed red beans inside this one.

Before any verdict is made, the other contender is by Cafe L'Operetta, the cafe version of the Japanese L'Operetta group that also has a fine dining branch and a pizza branch. This is made by female Chef Mayuki. The macarons here are smaller than Canele's and has a thicker crust shell. Each box contains 12 different flavors (half of which is available all year round).

The next contender : Cafe L'Operetta
This series has the lotus and red bean but not the black sesame or the yam paste.So how does the mooncake flavour made by a foreigner fare? Let's start off with the traditional flavors first......

Lotus Almond
Lotus Nut Creme with Caramelized Almond
This one is oversweetened, which proves that it has captured the essence of many traditional lotus mooncake--the sweetness. But more than just the sweetness of lotus paste, there is also caramelized almond...so can one imagine the sugar rush in this? Luckily, the macarons are much smaller than mooncake and so one can still tolerate the taste.

Red Bean Walnut
Red bean cream with caramelized walnuts
Unlike Canele's red bean version, this one has no red beans added but walnuts instead. The walnut hidden in the middle does not have any caramelized flavour but the cream was very light.

Now for the nuts......

Pistachio
The finest pistachio Creme with a sprinkle of Pistachio

Coffee walnut
The coffee cream is very mild and the aroma of coffee is not very strong here. I guess the walnuts might have been blended into the cream as no walnut bits were spotted.

Caramel Hazelnut
Butter caramel Salt with Hazelnut
This one is my favourite as there is salted caramel. But of course the salted caramel here is not as rich as strong as Hediard's version but nonetheless a great treat to have.

Praline
Homemade Praline Almond Creme in textured Macaron
I am not so sure why this Macaron is described as "textured" because the macaron shell is similar to those that are sprinkled with nuts. In fact, most of the macaron shells here did not have a smooth glossy surface. The praline taste is not very sharp.

And now for the fruits......
Coconut Passion
Desiccated Coconut & coconut cream with White Chocolate Ganache and Passionfruit & mango coulis

This one has the most number of different ingredients. The sweet and sourness of the coulis allows one to take a break from the persisting sweetness from the macarons.

Lemon Raspberry
Fresh Lemon Creme with Raspberry Coulis
This is my favourite among the fruits as it has the most sour filling.

On top of that, I like the marbled surface of this Macaron, just like the Teh Tarik by Canele.

Olive Strawberry
The finest Italian oil with White Chocolate Ganache and Strawberry Coulis
This is second type of olive Macaron I've tried. The first one is from Centre PS in Tiong Bahru. Has a light scent of olive and paired surprisingly well with the strawberry Coulis
Rum & raisin
This one is just simply vanilla cream with rum soaked raisins. The raisins were not soaked in rum till plump enough so can't really get the kick out of this.

Homemade Raspberry Jam & Raspberry Creme

The last Macaron: Chocolate
Bittersweet Dark Chocolate & chocolate ganache from Venezuela

This one is the least sweet among all though it is chocolate. Very smooth and creamy filling.

the crackly macarons
After trying both, I find that the Canele's version is more value for money as it's macarons are not only larger in size but also the Macaron per piece calculated is cheaper than L operetta's. Furthermore, Canele's version has a nicer glossy surface whereas L Operetta's version was spotted with several cracks. It is also easier to distinguish between the types of flavour by looking at the colour of the macarons for Canele but not L Operetta.

Thirdly, L operetta's macarons are too sweet.The shell is also thicker and very chewy, unlike Canele's Macarons' crispy and airy shells. L operetta's version crumbles very easily despite it's petite size and are quite dense in texture. So my vote goes to Canele. (of cos once again it's up to individual preferences of the sweetness, texture or flavour)

Click here for L Operetta's Mooncake Macarons Information

Canele's catalogue:




1 comment:

  1. I am not a strict traditionalist mooncake fans because I only go for the pastry skin and not the lotus paste filling.

    ReplyDelete

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