Hypebeast 2022 Mid-Autumn Festival Mooncake Roundup

The Mid-Autumn Festival mooncakes are in. The annual tradition — dating back some 3,000 years — is one of the greater holidays in Chinese culture, where the holiday brings families together to eat the egg yolk and sweet lotus seed paste-filled pastry. Created to represent the full moon, the traditional dessert alone has undergone some major changes and innovations in the past 10 years. While purists would argue that it’s drifting further from its original form, due to the over-commercialization of Chinese holidays, there’s no denying that brands are adapting with the times to target a younger and trendier consumer base.

In recent years when we’ve rounded up the best mooncake designs, we’ve seen a shift from the traditional aluminum tin box to more design and on-brand cardboard packaging – the mooncakes got smaller, but the boxes grew significantly. Then came the switch from fillings. Gone were the lotus paste and egg yolks, and in their place came experimental flavors like ice cream, matcha, lava custard, and fudge. It was essentially an amalgamation of eastern and western desserts. As I mentioned in the past, one concern was that after the holidays, the decorative boxes were often scattered on the city streets. And while the boxes are often taken off the street and recycled as scrap cardboard, you can’t help but feel wasteful throwing away some of the more ornate mooncake presentations that had a lot of marketing budget put into making them. (some boxes contain LED strips, machined steel, wood and even circuit boards).

If you compare this year with five years ago, the change is clear. Nearly zero brands now use traditional mooncakes and have opted for the bite-sized, artisanal versions. These freshly baked versions are highly customizable and can be filled with just about any ingredient (McLaren Hong Kong had a Michelin-starred chef create a South African abalone and truffle-filled mooncake), but have a significantly shorter shelf life. Believe it or not, some of the factory-made mooncakes of the past could last up to two years before going bad.

This year, the fashion houses and luxury brands seemed to have received the same memo about upcycling and reusability, as many mooncake sets include aspects that allow consumers to enjoy the brand beyond eating the cakes. Porcelain plates and crockery were introduced with names such as Maison Margiela, Fendi, Christian Louboutin, Burberry, and Giorgio Armani to add to the mix. Not only can you serve the cakes on the plates, but you also get a nice ceramic bowl to add to your collection of household items. Loewe continued his thematic wooden sculptural box with a chocolate logo and carved wooden bowls and spoons. Emporio Armani, Dior and Gucci all turned their packs into storage containers, while watch brands IWC and Hublot focused on drinks that compliment mooncakes with a full tea collection and coffee-making set, respectively.

Things were taken to another level by offers from Blackbird Concessionaires Ferrari, Louis Vuittonand Audemars Piguet. Blackbird Concessionaires Ferrari created a full box modeled on the 296 GTB engine, while AP made a full aluminum mooncake box that can be used as a premium watch box. Louis Vuitton’s Mid-Autumn Festival contribution took an artistic route with a fine woodblock print kit. Longines, Clot and Cartier kept the later aspect of the holiday alive with their inventive boxes that double as night lights. Check out the most luxurious mooncakes from this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival above.

In other food news, take a look at Louis Vuitton’s vegetarian pop-up restaurant Maison Seoul.

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