Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival) is a harvest festival, celebrated in China and other East Asian countries. Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. To the Chinese, the festival means family reunion and harmony. It is celebrated when the moon is full, and Chinese people believe a full moon is a symbol of reunion, harmony, and happiness. It’s always in September or October, on month 8 day 15 of the Chinese lunar calendar. In 2019, it will fall on September 13.
I have introduced that festival in my post on moon cakes, the typical food eaten on that festival. I have tried to keep you abreast with the latest trends on that post. I will continue to do so, but I recently received a note from a Chinese friend who had been given a Mid Autumn Gift Box, containing exquisite moon cakes, but also a few other luxury versions of Chinese local delicacies, not necessarily consumed during the Mid Autumn Festival.
This box represents a number of current trends and describing the contents of this box therefore gives a good insight in those trends; so good, that I prefer to do so in a post, rather than add it to the Trends page of my blog. The two trends are:
- Goody boxes; goody boxes containing samples of part or all of the product range of a manufacturer has become a vogue in China this year. One of earliest of such presentations was a box of single portions of nuts and seeds by Three Squirrels. Such boxes suit Chinese communitarian culture: you can share the box with your family, colleagues or friends.
- Local specialties; regional governments have become more aware of the value of local delicacies and have started actively developing their production to comply with the expectations of the modern Chinese consumer. Look, e.g., to my post on Jinhua Ham for a successful example. You can consult my post on local cuisines to find the locations mentioned here.
So, now have a look at the overview picture, showing the fancy top of the box and its contents.
It includes a 3, because the manufacturer is supplying three grades. I am describing the top grade in this post. This is what was in the box my friend was presented.
Honey glazed walnut kernels from a mountainous region of Yunnan province
Dried apricots from Xinjiang in China’s far West.
Red can sugar candy from Lincang, Yunnan; it makes a sweet drink by solving it in hot water.
Spicy dried beef from Hunan province.
And, last but not least, fancy mooncakes.
- Two milk tea moon cakes;
- Two macha cassia moon cakes;
- Two red tea moon cakes.
Chinese have been eating walnuts, dried apricots or beef jerky as a snack for ages, but in this day and age, you need to get your walnuts from the high mountains of Yunnan or from an outpost of the ancient Silk Road to arouse the interest of present-day Chinese consumers. And, you have to wrap everything in packs and boxes matching the high quality of the foods. It makes you wonder what the next step will be.
More festivals following
The trend is not restricted to the Mid Autumn Festival. Towards the end of 2019, China’s top snack maker and seller Three Squirrels launched the following good back containing a rich sampler of their nuts.
Peter Peverelli is active in and with China since 1975 and regularly travels to the remotest corners of that vast nation.