Yesterday I met up with Berwine, a CHIJ Katong primary school classmate whom I hadn’t seen for almost a decade!
This year we started chatting again on Facebook, as she’s on a month-long vacation before starting a new position based in Bangkok. She’s covering Argentina, Brazil and a couple of other Latin American countries. But… first stop was Buenos Aires – so we decided we had to meet up!
Our little rendezvous after almost 10 years!
We met for a quick tea yesterday evening at Café Tortoni, a coffeehouse located at 825 of Avenida de Mayo in Buenos Aires. Inaugurated on 1858 by a French immigrant whose surname was Touan, the café was named Tortoni after the local in Paris at Boulevard des Italiens where the elite of the Parissiense culture gathered in the 19th century. Inspired by Fin de siècle coffee houses.
I reached Café Tortoni as soon as I could get out of the office, and it was such a wonderful time catching up! Man, 10 years’ worth of conversations and catching up, and simply being fascinated with how each other’s lives are now so completely different. Obviously one afternoon tea was not enough for all the snippets of life and gossip we need to catch up on, so we’ve arranged for dinner tonight at the famous grill restaurant La Cabrera.
Berwine also brought along a little Singaporean surprise!
Across oceans and continents, she had brought with her mooncakes – but not just any mooncakes – but the ones from Goodwood Park Hotel! I haven’t broken down and eaten the mooncakes yet – but I’m dying to!
For those who are wondering what mooncakes are… here’s how they look like:
What exactly are mooncakes?
According to Wikipedia, mooncake is a Chinese bakery product traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhongqiu). The festival is for lunar worship and moon watching, when mooncakes are regarded as an indispensable delicacy. Mooncakes are offered between friends or on family gatherings while celebrating the festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the four most important Chinese festivals.
Typical mooncakes are round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4–5 cm thick. A rich thick filling usually made from red bean or lotus seed paste is surrounded by a thin (2–3 mm) crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. Mooncakes are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea. Today, it is customary for businessmen and families to present them to their clients or relatives as presents, helping to fuel a demand for high-end mooncake styles. The caloric content of a mooncake is approximately 1,000 calories (for a cake measuring 10 centimetres (3.9 in), but energy content varies with filling and size.
While Mid-Autumn Festival is already over this year, these mooncakes sure make me feel closer to home and I’m now completely over the bout of homesickness that I was suffering last week!
Here are the mooncakes that Berwine so thoughtfully gave me! They came in a beautiful golden yellow hardcover box, which was prettily decorated with what looks like a red lotus flower. Ahh, I’m in bliss. Thank you Berwine!!!