Monday, September 12, 2011

Harvest Moon Festival in Toronto

Four Moon Cakes with 4 Unique Fillings 
Top (L-R): Lotus Paste with 1 Yolk; Coconut with 1 Yolk
Bottom (L-R): Red Bean & 1 Yolk; Nut & Seeds Medley & Ham
It's Monday September 12th, 2011 evening. Look up and check-out the breath-taking bright full moon that's hanging low in the dark twinkling skies. Tonight marks the 15th day of the 8th moon in the ancient Chinese lunar calendar.

Since mid-August, guests attending my Sunday foodies walk such as the Toronto's Lost First Chinatown Foodies Walks or Second Chinatown Foodies Walks, have been enjoying the concept of "preparing" for festivities to take place tonight. The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival a.k.a Harvest Moon Festival or Moon Cake Festival is associated with legends richly loaded with many characters, dramas, and of course, the food! I virtually have to tell each of the different tales at different locales along either one of the foodies tour.

Guests find it mind boggling as we handle these hand-carved wooden Moon Cake molds - the sheer weight, the intricate details, the prices, and most of all, the process in making a moon cake. Having taken the George Brown College's Festive Chinese Cuisine course, I love sharing the painstaking steps involved in making these decadent cakes. My favourite step would be getting the cake out of the wooden mold and onto the baking sheet. How do you think I did it?

Folks always laugh as I share hilarious stories of Moon Cakes circa 1970s - memorable stale moon cakes shipped from a Vancouver Chinatown bakery, wrapped in plain newsprint and oozing with lard! The "good old days" were not so yummy for the eyes nor the tummy!  Now, our eyes pop each time as we go into one of the Asian grocery stores along the Second Chinatown tour; we feast with our eyes some beautiful tin boxes. Here are some boxes we're seeing in the shops this year that I've been adoring... 
Legendary Heroine depicted on this tin box

Another beautiful tin depicting Mid-Autumn flower, the Chrysanthemum!

Kim Moon Bakery's box depicts
an Emperor's legendary water garden connected
with the Harvest Moon Festival

Enough of admiring the wooden molds and the tin boxes. I'm going to have my yin-yang experience as I finish off nibbling my sliver of the lotus paste moon cake with salty duck egg yolk. Time to check out the lovely shining moon with my hubby and then wrap up with a refreshing slice of pomelo! 

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