Despite these pandemic times of strict restrictions and social distancing, Hennessy invites all to make the most out of this Mid-Autumn Festival by underlining the spirit of togetherness that makes the festival.
More than just about mooncakes and lanterns, the Mid-Autumn Festival is about the familial ties that let us know our family and loved ones are always with us, despite the distance. It is the bonds of friendship that transcend time away from each other. Even apart, thoughts, love and camaraderie stay strong when the relationship is true.
In celebrating this spirit of togetherness, Hennessy has come up with seasonal gifts and special offers to bridge this time apart from each other. Among them is a series of Hennessy-infused mooncakes, created in collaboration with Chef Raymond Tham of local restaurant Skillet.KL.
No stranger to the local dining scene, Chef Raymond came up with a modern iteration of the mooncake with chocolate ganache filling. Hennessy cognac is infused into St Domingue single origin chocolate ganache for mooncakes with strong cocoa character and long floral and fruity notes.
You might also like: 7 traditional mooncakes to know this Mid-Autumn Festival
We stole 15 minutes of his time to learn more about his creation process and, more importantly, what does togetherness mean to him during this auspicious time of year.
What is your fondest memory of the Mid-Autumn Festival and the mooncakes associated with it?
While I was studying in the UK, I remember craving for the traditional Malaysian mooncakes back home as it wasn’t something that was widely celebrated there. Being so far away from home, I wanted something familiar to remind me of the festivities back home. Call it sixth sense or what you will, my family surprised me with a box of mooncakes delivered to me and it brought me to tears. I always look back at that memory fondly.
When was the first time you tried making mooncakes? What was it like?
I was 16 years old the first time I tried to make mooncakes. I tried making the Teochew style yam mooncake from a recipe book. If I do say so myself, I would say I was about 75% successful considering it was my first time. We’ve come a long way from that day!
Is making mooncake difficult? Why?
Creating mooncakes from scratch requires a certain kind of precision and discipline. Every detail from the measurements of the ingredients to the techniques used to making them are essential to get the perfect mooncake in terms of taste, texture, appearance and aroma. It takes time to get there and you really need to put in the work.
Share with us some of the challenges you faced in creating the Hennessy infused mooncakes.
With chocolate ganache, there is a possibility that they will not set properly when adding high alcohol volume into the mixture. This could result in mooncakes that are out of shape so I really took the time to find the perfect mix to ensure that consumers get to enjoy the elevated experience of Hennessy infused mooncakes while still having it retain its traditional shape and texture.
How did you conceive flavours that can match Hennessy V.S.O.P?
Hennessy V.S.O.P is an easy-to-pair liquid that complements many flavours really well. For us it was a matter of curating a traditional mooncake with a unique twist by infusing Hennessy V.S.O.P within its flavour. We have chosen chocolate because I believe chocolate has one of the richest and most complex flavours in any food. Chemists have detected more than 600 different kinds of volatile molecules in it, making the ingredient versatile and complements Hennessy V.S.O.P perfectly.
Share with us a little about the final mooncake and its flavours, and how do they bring out the best of Hennessy VSOP?
The flavour profile we went with is the St. Domingue single origin chocolate which has a strong cocoa character with a long floral and fruity note which pairs perfectly with Hennessy V.S.O.P tasting notes of candied fruits, vanilla, and spices.
Share with us the process of making one Hennessy infused mooncake.
First I create the chocolate snow skin by making the dough with a mixture of cocoa powder, Hennessy V.S.O.P and starches. Then it is time to make the chocolate ganache filling with St. Domingue single origin chocolate mixed with Hennessy V.S.O.P.
I then assemble these two parts together by wrapping the chocolate filling and brownies with the chocolate snow skin dough. The delicate mooncake is then finally topped off with hand painted, edible gold dust to add an extra luxurious look to complete the process.
What does eating mooncake remind you of and how does this go with Hennessy’s Mid Autumn Festival campaign’s values of togetherness?
Eating mooncake often takes me back to family celebrations where everybody comes together to enjoy the Mid-Autumn festivities. This year, Hennessy focused on having a positive outlook and finding new ways to reignite the feeling of spending a festive occasion around family and loved ones through the act of sharing a drink together, no matter how far apart you are from each other. I think it is similar in a sense that the mooncake always takes you back to these occasions and Hennessy is with you always, for these occasions.
The special Hennessy Mid-Autumn Festival package and mooncakes are available for purchase at selected key retail outlets and e-retail partners. Find them at The Good Stuff, Malting Point, Chill Out and Boozeat.
Hennessy has also curated a series of cocktail recipes that you can make right at home to spread the joy of Mid-Autumn and remember the occasion with. They are created with a few local influencers and are available for reference on its Instagram and Facebook pages. Simply search up #HennessyMY and #HennessyWithYouAlways or connect with Hennessy through Hennessy Malaysia Facebook Page.