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.
Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel
It’s not an ox or characters of ancient Chinese New Year lores that represent Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel lunar holiday gift set. It’s a lady bird, which, as the world-renowned bakery explains, is a long-time symbol of good luck and fortune in both Eastern and Western cultures — the exact make up of the bakery itself. Within this Joyous Spring Ladybird gift set is a layer of chocolate bon bons of two different flavours: pistachio dark chocolate under the emerald shell and yuzu white chocolate within the orange. Also tucked below, a local-made almond milk rice pudding, infused with the nutty flavours Chinese almond.
Orders for the Joyous Spring Ladybird gift box (HK$398) can be placed here.
Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel, various locations including Shop 2, G/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
Butter cookies, for whatever reason, have been a long-time Chinese New Year tradition. But rather than passing around the cobalt blue tin as you do each year, bring along a box of Sift’s cookies for a delicious surprise. Crafted with six different flavours in six delightfully adorable shapes, there’s a lai see filled with money, tangerine, cherry blossom, gold coin, gold ingot and the traditional fai chun, or decoration. As for flavours, bite into a selection of short bread, lemon, chocolate, orange, Earl Grey and hazelnut in this impressive box of 30.
Sift, various locations including, Shop 240 – 241, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2147 296
No crème brulée from Paul Lafayet this Chinese New Year. What you can get, though, is the patisserie’s Lucky Tiger Gift Box with French illustrator Emilie Sarnel’s hand drawing of two dancing tigers. And it’s not all about treats, either. The gift box set pulls open to reveal 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 in the second 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 a flowery meadow filled with 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 set 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 honoured the nuanced art of tea appreciation, using leaves that have been 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 Dan Cong Oolong 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 yuan (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. Never mind 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 organised 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 receive. For this Chinese New Year, the confectioner crafts a series of Candy Bento Boxes for easy gifting (and enjoying!) — with anything from a single cube to a lucky set of eight — featuring the brand’s sweet creations in fun, auspicious names. There is the Lotus Flowers flavoured with lychee, Tangerine Bears, berried-flavoured 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 cleverly, 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 lunar calendar into the new Year of the Tiger. And even better yet, the whole set holds 15 special treats from the hotel — one for each day of the Chinese traditional holiday that lasts for two weeks. Tug open the jewel-toned drawers to discover a selection of delicious snacks 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 — or “Edible Cocktails”, as they call it — from anything including 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.