Autumn in Hangzhou is associated with many things but it is notably the season for osmanthus and for the Mid-autumn Festival.
Osmanthus, the floral symbol of Hangzhou, has been extensively planted throughout the city and its eye-catching appearance and strong fragrance make it widely appealing to all. Its flowers are also edible and are often served as natural ingredients in Hangzhou’s renowned food and tea.
To add to this tasteful season ‘moon cakes’, edible sweet and savory creations, are the culinary choice in celebrating the Mid-autumn Festival and together with osmanthus they are the best seasonal snacks to satisfy your senses.
Osmanthus Tea first made its appearance in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) and is made by mixing dried osmanthus flowers with black or green tea leaves. The fresh scent of the tea leaves together with the sweet aroma of the osmanthus leaves are a perfect match and the tea’s unique flavor can even satisfy the most discerning palate.
Osmanthus tea also has a number of health properties such as improving complexion and reducing the chances of getting diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Osmanthus Rice Cake
Osmanthus Rice Cake is a dessert made out of glutinous rice powder and osmanthus sugar. It is a time-honored cake that is usually square in shape, snow-white in color and is embedded with dried, tiny, brown and golden-colored osmanthus flowers. With a strong scent of osmanthus it tastes sweet and is soft and smooth to touch.
The Mid-autumn Festival is another traditional Chinese festival on a par with the Spring Festival and just like the latter, it is also a time for family members to get together. Things to do during the festival include appreciating the moon and eating moon cakes, both of which are symbols of reunion in Chinese culture.
To cater to every taste there are a wide variety of moon cakes of different flavors available and the most commonly seen ones in China are sweet moon cakes which are stuffed with a variety of dried fruit, pastes and nuts. However in Hangzhou the moon cakes hitting the shelves are of the salty variety, Zhacai (Chinese pickled vegetable) and Pork Moon Cakes which feature a crisp crust of ten layers and are better eaten hot out of the oven.
The annual time for picking Longjing green tea leaves, one of the top ten renowned teas of China, has begun in Hangzhou and everywhere tea farmers are now busy picking and hand frying the famous leaves. If you wanted to take a sneak peek at how the farmers meticulously pick their verdant leaves from bushes nestled in undulating hills, or if you wanted to sample, at first hand, this year’s Longjing variety, then head to the following three tea villages which are known for their tea, tea culture and tea-related tourist attractions.
Last year on the real waters of the West Lake, and in the evening gala of Hangzhou G20 Summit, the performance “The most memorable is Hangzhou” amazed the world. It was a shame that after such a short period of performing in last October and November, the show paused. But now news is out that starting from May, the updated version of original Impression West Lake, “The most memorable is Hangzhou” will once again show its lakeside charm in becoming one of the most splendid performances on water.