Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Dessert Diary

Last week I broke down and turned on the AC for bedtime. I had hoped to be able to last until July, but summer has fully set in in Taipei. At least I did better than last year when I cracked before the end of May. Right now, I think I’m suffering from tendrils of heat stroke, and I can’t focus on work. So let’s talk about some sweeties I took photos of over the last 3 or 4 months.

8%ice (visited the Mitsukoshi branch) is a new-ish addition to the Taipei ice cream scene. They offer a good range of fairly unique flavours in their gelato and sorbet selection and have 4 different alternating soft serve options. My favourite is the Brown Sugar with Sea Salt soft serve. It’s a very rich yet smoothly creamy soft serve and the slight saltiness really emphasizes the sweetness of the brown sugar. The green half is their signature Matcha soft serve, which is very good too, intensely matcha with a slight bitterness to it that balances well off the salted brown sugar.

This is the soft serve version of their Blackcurrant with Rose gelato which is one of my favourites. While this was delish, I still prefer the gelato version because it’s creamier in texture and flavour.

Guang-An Jie (visited the Sogo branch) is a Dou-Hua, or tofu pudding, specialist and this is their tofu sundae (it might less weird to think of it as soy milk sundae). The soft serve itself tastes pretty much like good unsweetened soy milk, and the garnishes are brown sugar syrup, Azuki beans, taro dumplings (Yu-Yuan), peanut powder covered mochi bits and a sweetened cracker. Extra retro points for using a jumbo popsicle stick as a spoon, rather than a boring old proper spoon.

Yuan Xing (visited the Uni-President Hankyu branch) is an almond tea/milk specialist that is fairly new to me, and this was my first try of their yums. I got the almond tofu/pudding with added buckwheat and a bottle of almond tea/milk. There is two types of almond pudding that I know of, one is very much like jelly/jello that can sort of be cut into straight lines and cubed, the other type is more mochi like, stickier in texture. I much prefer the latter as they tend to taste less artificial (I believe it is harder to make and thus generally those who make it use good ingredients, sadly these shops are few and far between). To my delight, Yuan Xing makes the latter kind, and the sweetness of their pudding is very gentle and not overpowering, while the almond flavour is strong but not artificial. The almond tea/milk is very good too, but a little too sweet for my liking, though the SA did warn me their original flavour is on the sweet side. My only gripe, it’s not cheap. These two added together I can more or less get a pretty good set meal at the same department store.

Perhaps Taiwan’s most famous dessert house, Ice Monster has been featured on CNN as one of the world’s top 10 desserts to try, and I certainly do think it’s a must try for anyone visiting Taipei. I’ve had Ice Monster back when it first came out with their iconic mango ice floats (back when the lines weren’t so crazy) and I have to give them props for being able to stay ahead of their competition and continuously bettering their desserts. I personally recommend the strawberry float over the mango because I like the mango floats from this place better.

Freebie black sesame seed soft serve that was given at a newly opened noodle house. Very yums, sadly I hear it won’t be on sale once the promotion is over.

Aranzi Cafe (I visited the Hankyu branch) offers delightfully cute light meals, desserts and drinks based on Aranzi Aronzo characters. This white chocolate mousse cheesecake is not up my alley, too much cream for my liking, and without a citrus hint to the overall flavour, I was gagging before I made it halfway through. Totally feel for the cute :S

What are some sweetie yummies you've had recently?


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