Look, don’t just pick out the chocolate coins. Try the melon seeds and candied melons. And don’t forget to bring a delicious gift of your own!
Little ones or not, we adore the Chinese New Year chuen hup, or traditional candy box, portion of the traditional holiday. A bright red circular box set enticingly open upon coffee tables, filled with all kinds of sweet and savoury treats — everyone has their favourite (mine’s my grandmother’s nougat!). It’s a time-honoured custom; an indication of holiday, along with the coconut and turnip puddings, bright flowers and paper fai chun (tradition decoration) plastered over the walls wishing everything to good health, wealth and fortune.
But, there is a methodic tradition to the candy box. It’s not just a handful of treats your grandparents happen to love. In fact, each neat little segment houses a treat with an auspicious meaning of its own: Lotus seeds are symbolic signs of improved fertility; lotus root, of love. Tangerines and kumquats sound phonetically similar to “gold”; melon seeds to money and wealth. Chocolate coins, well, are coins.
Nowadays, however, these colourful boxes hold more popular snacks (see: chocolate) than traditional ones. Some replaced entirely, even. Before you go dipping your fingers in search of a delicious treat, don’t forget to add a couple favourites of your own.
Nope. No crème brulée from Paul Lafayet this Chinese New Year. What you can get, though, is the patisserie’s Lucky Tiger Gift Box that adds an artsy flair to the Chinese tradition with French illustrator Emilie Sarnel’s hand drawing of two dancing tigers. It’s not all about treats, either. The gift box set pulls open into three different tiers featuring a whole afternoon experience: “Cookirons” — a cookie-based iteration of the brand’s famous macaron; jasmine and hojicha tea tins with pots of honey on the second tier and a special fine bone china porcelain dish at the base to hold it all. The plate is especially tailored to the Year of the Tiger, featuring a sketch of two smiling tigers amongst flowery meadows of macarons.
Paul Lafayet, various locations including shop 1104B, L1, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2543 9800
To no one’s surprise, it’s all about the chocolates at Godiva. As usual, the Belgian chocolatier has drawn up a new motif for the Year of the Tiger, more notably upon the auspicious red and gold packaging printed with swimming koi and a tiger portrait amongst crackling fireworks as a symbolic image of wealth. For the chocolates, the bijou creations feature the same lucky tiger motif over the surface, and are packed in three distinct flavours: Raspberry Orange White chocolate, Pecan Praliné Milk chocolate and 85% Dark Ganache chocolate.
Order before 31 January to enjoy special offers including free gifts, including a complimentary box of chocolates, or 10% off any purchase of HK$688.
Godiva, various locations including Shop Area A, UG/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3468 2441
So this might not fit into traditional Chinese candy boxes, but it will still sit very prettily amongst red-adorned decor around the home. Saicho’s selection of sparkling teas has always honours the nuanced art of tea appreciation with leaves sourced from various regions: Jasmine from Fuding in China’s Fujian province; Hojicha from Kyoto in Japan; Darjeeling from The Himalayas in India. And now for the Year of the Tiger, the brand launches a very special creation of only 900 bottles — Eight Immortals — featuring the special Dan Cong Oolong tea grown atop Phoenix Mountain’s Tian Liao village in Guangdong.
From harvest to roast and rolling, the leaves are looked after by a qualified tea master. The result is a fragrant blend that adheres to the leaves’ distinct complexity: bright notes of ginger mango and tangerine that rounds into a bitterness, then herbal, the likes of anise, fennel and tarragon. With Eight Immortals’ earthy savouriness, Saicho recommends pairing with traditional Chinese New Year dishes including Chinese steamed fish and tang yang (glutinous rice dumplings).
Shop Saicho’s Chinese New Year selection here
You may be spoilt for choice with Venchi’s range of Chinese New Year gift boxes, but one thing’s for sure: they all feature the Italian brand’s signature 140-years, Piedmont Master Chocolatiers-approved sweets. From the range of lucky red and gold packaging, it’s the Chinese New Year Double Layer Hexagon Gift Box that’ll bring about an indulgent celebratory mood. Nevermind the lengthy name, as the set is a similarly extensive collection of the brand’s favourite chocolates: Cremini, Chocoviar, Truffles, Dubledoni. Or consider the Chinese New Year Round Hamper, which features Venchi’s latest creation Gianduja N.3 with Hazelnut, and is a close replica of the traditional chuen hup with the rounded exterior and neat sections within.
Venchi, various locations including Shop 1055, L1, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2818 3108
Sugarfina’s delicate candy cubes have always been a delight. Both to give and to receive. For this Chinese New Year, the confectioner crafts a series of Candy Bento Boxes for easy gifting — anything from a single cube to a lucky set of eight — featuring the brand’s creations in fun, auspicious names. There are Lotus Flowers flavoured with lychee, Tangerine Bears, Royal Roses and Golden Pearls. If not for the sweets within, get this set for the beautifully artistic packaging: a hand-crafted shadow box of red and gold decor motifs of lanterns, flowers and a temple to mark new beginnings.
Sugarfina, various locations including Shop 3327, 3/F, Gateway Arcade, 3-27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2116 4688
This, very ingeniously, is a Chinese New Year advent calendar from Rosewood. So rather than counting down, you’ll be counting on from the first day of the the new Year of the Tiger. We’re looking up and ahead this year! And even better yet, the whole set holds 15 treats special treats from the hotel — one for each day of the full two week-celebration of the Chinese traditional holiday. Tug on the jewel-toned draws to discover a selection of delicious snack from fortune cookies and egg rolls to XO sauce, palmiers, nougets, ginger candies and crunchy peanut bites. Much better than your usual melon seeds.
Shop Rosewood’s Chinese New Year Advent Calendar here.
Smith & Sinclair
Candy box fillings will be made extra exciting with the addition of Smith & Sinclair treats — they’re made after your favourite tipples! The UK-based brand crafts vegan-friendly gummies out of classic tipples — or “Edible Cocktails”, as they call it — from anything like the classic Gin & Tonic to special concoctions like Passionfruit Mojito. For the Year of the Tiger, Smith & Sinclair has designed a special red, tiger-printed sleeve as symbol of good luck and fortune. These can be fitted over any of the brand’s nine signature sets from spirit-based “Gin Obsessed” or “Tequila Time” to themed “Love Box” or “Night In”.
Orders placed before 16 January can enjoy HK$30 off.
Shop Smith & Sinclair’s Chinese New Year selection here.