Gearing up for mooncake madness

By Clare Buchanan ( Shanghai Star ) Updated: 2014-09-05 13:55:58

Gearing up for mooncake madness

Savoring Yangshuo, a jewel under threat

Gearing up for mooncake madness


Local flavors, local friends 

He explained that in a couple of weeks I wouldn’t be able to escape from the pastries, which would be everywhere, but actually very few would be eaten. He admitted he still had a stash of mooncakes given to him last year festering in his kitchen cupboard.

I suppose Mid-Autumn Festival’s gift-giving culture is not unlike Christmas Day. National protocol says it’s a time for giving and receiving - and then leaving unwanted presents at the back of your wardrobe.

The festival really has turned into a commercial spinner. Even Starbucks and Haagen-Dazs have gotten in on the game, putting their own twist on the treats with new fl avors and chocolate and ice cream versions.

In past years mooncake-giving rocketed as businesspeople eager to use cake to beef up their business relations snapped up boxes worth upward of 1,000 yuan. Authorities were moved to enforce a cake-only rule on all products labeled with "mooncake" in 2012 after expensive packages in sumptuous boxes included more lavish extras, such as expensive tealeaves and alcohol, than actual pastries. Last year more restrictions were brought in banning government officials from using public money to buy high-end treats.

To avoid a total eclipse of my innocent and idealistic mooncake memories this Mid-Autumn Festival I will also be shunning excess and extravagance. If a high-end mooncake comes my way I won’t refuse a bite but I plan to track down a cheap and cheerful version of the controversial cake, which I am sure will taste identical to its luxury counterparts.

The writer is a contributor of Shanghai Star.

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