WHO is the top mooncake producer in Malaysia is the debate arising with the moon upon the the arrival of the Mid-Autumn Festival on Sunday.
KUALA LUMPUR: It is a question for which there can be no conclusive answer. Lacking official figures and data, arguments would largely be based on personal opinion and taste.
The Baker's Cottage chief executive officer Marvin Lau Joo Heng, however, is not afraid to declare his company to be one of the leaders among Malaysia's many makers of mooncake.
"The human factor is the predominant reason for the rise or drop in business," said Lau at The Baker's Cottage's launch of four new mooncake flavours.
He said business on the international front was looking good, with an upward sale trend and a stronger penetration rate.
"We export our mooncakes to China, Hong Kong, and countries with large Chinese communities such as Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam.
"The export market is still small, with a sales ratio of 70:30, local to overseas," said Lau, adding that mooncakes had yet to catch on in the Western and African countries.
The number of local Muslim consumers, meanwhile, is growing, he said.
"Our mooncakes are halal, which fits in with the 1Malaysia concept. The Chinese enjoy Muslim fare and thanks to the halal certification, the Muslims can also savour our delicacies."
The Baker's Cottage ventured into the making of mooncakes in 2004.
On the new flavours, Lau said, the process, from inception to finished product, took nine months.
"We actually had 20 new recipes but that list was reduced to four because of factors such as costs of production and availability of ingredients," said Lau.
Preparation for next year's flavours would commence immediately after the Mid-Autumn Festival, he said.
Of the four new flavours, the Imperial Ivory mooncake or yeh ming zhu is the most tantalising. Nutritious ingredients such as winter melon, dried longan, macadamia nuts and melon seeds form the filling, which is encased in a milky-white pastry skin.
"We call it Imperial Ivory as it resembles the yeh ming zhu pearl in appearance and colour," said Lau, stressing that The Baker's Cottage do not use preservatives in its mooncakes.
The other three new flavours are Purpleberry Cheese (lotus paste with antioxidant-rich blackcurrant and cheese), Seaweed Chicken Floss (chicken floss filling in butter pastry skin with seaweed strips) and Jasmine Cheesy Citrus (white lotus paste and lemon cheese mung bean filling in a jasmine tea-scented pastry skin).
Classic flavours such as red bean, green tea, mixed nuts, pure lotus and white lotus, and the all-time favourite, tiramisu, are also available.
For details, call 03-7980 2022, visit www.thebakerscottage.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.