Sweets and treats for everyone
We all love a Sweet or Treat every now and then, to add that zing to our food or just for some simple enjoyment, which is to some, what life is made of.
Artisans brought out their homemade Sweets and Treats, with their special flavours, at the recent exhibition at The Linc, which attracted a lot of interest from visitors.
“Visitors were interested in local, homemade foods that included Padma’s coconut candies, honey from some.ting.sweet and the sambal from TwoDads,’’ said Irene Wong who was promoting Sweets and Treats at the exhibition.
New flavours at Padma’s Dapur come with added treats of brown sugar and roasted peanuts as well as almonds.
“I’m trying out low calorie candies and using honey,’’ said Padma, a former administration manager who has been making coconut candies since July last year.
“Customers love the candies which are moist in texture and milky in flavour; they say they can still get the coconut taste and especially like the candies with pandan and gula Melaka,’’ said Padma.
A visitor at the exhibition, Tay Kay Luan, said he will order the coconut candies online, as he likes the packaging and he also finds the pricing reasonable.
“When I saw it, I liked it,’’ said Tay.
Having tried most of the candies, Shanthi Ayadurai loves the ones with brown sugar and roasted almonds.
“As you bring the candy closer to your mouth, you are able to smell the lovely aroma of roasted almonds; all her candies are not overly sweet and a heavenly treat for everyone!’’ said Shanthi.
Another buyer, Adelaine Foo, also gives away the candies to friends ‘so that they can taste and become Padma’s customers too.’
“It’s difficult to find candies that are reminiscent of childhood, and I love Padma’s candies which are moist and full of flavour,’’ says Adelaine, adding that her favourite is the pink original candy that reminds her of her childhood.
The natural sweetness of honey from some.ting.sweet had caught customers’ attention who are also attracted to its packaging.
“They like it as it is natural and not so sweet; the most common feedback is that there is no weird after-taste,’’ said founder Jessie Yeo Ting Ting.
The multifloral honey is from a farm in East Java; Apis Mellifera is the species of honey bee, known for its ‘unparalleled’ ability to produce honey.
When the honey was first brought back from the farm, it was sent for testing at the laboratory, and confirmed that it was original, without any sugar or preservative added.
Buyer Eric Chan said he had first tried a small spoonful of the honey, and found it had a smooth taste.
“My friends and family found it is not too sweet or sour,’’ said Eric who bought two jars of 500gm and 250gm.
Eric’s daughter uses the honey to make oat cookies for the family.
Jessie also sells the honeycomb which is chewy and can be eaten with a spoon; farmers in East Java pack the fresh and pure honeycomb in airtight containers and ship them to Malaysia.
Two Dads, Joshua Fernandez and Chris Aruel, who love cooking, had come up with two versions of the Sambal Laut which had been a hit among family and close friends.
Joshua loves making sambal, and taking the opportunity when home business is booming during the pandemic, they have come up with the Sambal Laut orginal and the fiery hot Sambal Laut Level Neraka.
Launched in September last year, the Sambal Laut Level Neraka has found a fan in Teresa Tan.
“Unbox the sambal and eat it with fresh greens or plain rice,’’ said Teresa. “Hottest, spiciest, yummiest … at this level, I am still able to taste the seafood ingredients and ikan masin bits … which makes it so special.’’
Other treats and drinks that visitors liked included the coffee by Beautiful Gate Foundation (BG Coffee) for the disabled, a health tea by Perfectly Tea, birds’ nest from POSH, tidbits such as muruku from MyGranny’s Foods, ginger powder from MamaGinger Powders and ginger pickle from L Society.
The aromatic BG Coffee, with beans imported from the coffee paradise of Chiangrai, Thailand, stands out among the commercial brands in the market.
This coffee, which comes in satchets, is known for its sparkling acidity, with a balance of caramel and chocolate sweetness as well as almond nuttiness.
Processed and sold by the disabled, sales proceeds goes towards their living expenses.
A repeat buyer, Datuk Koh Kia Lim, finds that taste of BG Coffee is fresh and fragrant.
The moment that a Perfectly Tea pouch is opened, we are already hit by its aroma; upon brewing, its amazing smell fills the whole room.
Each type of tea comes with a unique taste profile from premium ingredients; the ‘Power to Create’ tea is for that extra boost of energy while ‘Beauty Sleep’ is a tea to wind down with.
“The MCO has brought a lot of uncertainty to everyone,’’ said Cindy Lee, one of the three partners. “We’ve introduced our limited edition ‘Sweet Heart’ tea to help share some positivity among family and friends.’’
Crafted by womenpreneurs – Cindy, Vivienne Piong and Oflavia Veranez – Perfectly Tea looks forward to future collaborations with other brands.
Agape by POSH
The birds’ nest drink under the Agape brand from POSH is made from natural and non-harmful ingredients.
Part of the proceeds goes to help the orang asli community, said founder Serene Eng.
For the upcoming Mother’s Day, POSH will be introducing Candle + Bodycare products, priced at RM99 for a soywax candle and a Himalayan salt scrub.
POSH just celebrated its 10th year anniversary; it launched its product line mainly comprising bodycare and wellnesss products, under the Agape brand in 2018.
The muruku and kuih ros from MyGranny’s Foods are liked for their original taste that comes with the aroma of sesame seeds.
The hit item at MyGranny’s Foods is the sambal udang kering which has the authentic taste of dried prawns; rich in flavour, it comes with a generous amount of dried prawns and is also not oily.
“My recipes are passed down from my great grandmother, grandmother and mother,’’ said founder Mindy Jassal whose great grandmother was a chef in one of the hotels in Kuala Lumpur, back in the 1960s.
Mindy can make 25 to 30 bottles of sambal udang kering within four to five hours, and gets orders for about 90 bottles per week.
Her future plan is to put the sambal onto the shelves at supermarkets.
Florentines, which are nutty bites of almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, are also popular; Mindy has just made 500 bottles of florentines as a door gift for a wedding reception.
She gets a lot of orders from Sabah and Sarawak as well as some from Australia.
Mindy’s family helps out in the shopping and delivery. “It’s like a family business and I keep thinking of what my granny used to make,’’ said Mindy, who has happy memories of ‘digging in,’ together with her cousins, at their granny’s house.
“It was like food playground to us,’’ she smiled.
Ginger powder and slices from MamaGinger Powders come with or without brown sugar; candied ginger which is used to make a drink, was launched last year.
The original ginger powder is the main product due to its wide range of uses such as in cooking, drinking and also for medicinal uses.
“Our selling point is the quaranteed quality of our ginger, which is 100% pure and Halal certified, as well as by MeSTI, which is a food safety program initiated by the Ministry of Health,’’ said founder Khoo Boo Thiam.
The ginger comes from a farm in Northern Thailand; it has been approved by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) and certified by Global GAP/HACCP (Global Good Agricultural Practices/Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system).
A recipe video is coming up in May, following which MamaGinger Powders will do a promotion on certain products.
The Kerala ginger pickle from L Society has customers happy with the balance of flavours between the spice, tang and salt.
“Some elderly folks said the taste of the ginger pickle reminds them of the pickles they used to have back in Kerala, when they were young,’’ said founder Lisha Sriranga.
Traditionally consumed by the Indian community, the pickles has received a warm welcome from everyone who has tried it.
One English gentleman even had it with pork crackling, while a Chinese lady used it as a condiment with her porridge.
“It is that versatile!’’ said Lisha.
The chocolate story at Cherita Chocolates is about feeling good, and spreading positivity and peace.
With a new look and feel, the packaging contains positive, happy quotes such as ‘dance like no one’s watching.’
The chocolates are appreciated for their natural ingredients, not-so-sweet taste and high content of cocoa; they are quite addictive!
Dark chocolate has an amazing effect in boosting our mood and is high in antioxidants, which help to defend our cells from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules called free radicals.
“We want the experience to be meaningful, joyful and healthy for people eating our chocolates,’’ said founder Rizaini Mokhtar.
The new packaging reflects women’s strength, as they wear many hats from being at work to looking after a business and also their families.
“With a few roles to play, it is important for women to feel good about themselves and not give in to depression or anxiety,’’ said Rizaini.
Cherita Chocolates supports the local cocoa bean industry by sourcing for the supply of cocoa beans from Selangor, Pahang and Malacca.
At L Society, Lisha Sriranga’s love for fine flavours has led her to cake making; with bold flavours and beautiful designs, her cakes are for those who want something decadent with a slight touch of luxury.
The most popular is the three-layer, six-inch Valrhona chocolate cake with hazelnut praline, covered with chocolate ganache.
Another favourite is the three-layer, six-inch lemon yogurt cake with blackberry lavender filling covered in lavender cream cheese frosting.
For nut lovers, the almond pistachio sugee cake with rosewater, is something to enjoy for teatime.
Lisha also has a range of French savoury cakes.
“I use Danish and French butter, and Callebaut chocolate,’’ said Lisha who gets four to five orders per week from regular clients. Callebaut is the home of fine Belgian chocolate.
Customers love the moist texture of the cakes, with flavours such as blackberry and lavender also blending well.
The Hummingbird cake, which had made it to the Yum list, is rich with the flavours of pineapple, bananas and pecans with a coconut curd filling.
Lisha’s journey into these flavours had began during a visit to France in 2017, when she tasted their pastries.
The memories of caramelized apple, lemon curd and hazelnut moose had stayed with her and she had gone on to develop a whole range of cakes for our delight.
“Food is a very playful thing,’’ said Lisha who left the corporate world six months ago to focus on her passion for baking. “Asia has a lot of flavours such as coconut and pandan, to offer.
“To me, all this is a celebration of a culinary love affair.’’
At Sunshine Kingdom, it is also the story behind the Durian Kafe products that attracts customer, and wins Aesos and his business partner Eric Wong, numerous awards for being best in marketing.
“People love the story of filial piety as illustrated on the packaging, and give us awards based on the thinking behind it,’’ said Aesos.
To show his respect for his parents, Aesos had an illustration of his Dad’s face on the durian coffee packaging, and his Mom’s face on the Musang King teh tarik packaging.
“I was not from a rich family; by the time I made my money, my Dad was already 80; how would I show him the respect that would make him proud, in a way that money can’t buy?’’ said Aesos.
As a food souveneir specialist, Aesos will put a piece of Malaysian culture and landmarks to reflect the beauty of the country, onto the packaging for his products.
His 65 durian-related products, that were a great hit with Chinese tourists, are also good as gift packages; so are the sunshine cookies with happy quotes.
Coming up next are friendship cookies, to further promote the idea of happiness among friends and family.
The first and only durian products company in the world, Sunshine Kingdom has won Superbrand status for three consecutive years, and two Star Outstanding Business Awards (a gold in 2019), for best in marketing.
Consistency in quality and taste of cookies freshly baked by members of the S.T.A.R. (Special Needs Training and Resources) Center, is its selling point.
Top selling cookies are the spicy cornflakes and pineapple tarts; for a taste of local flavours, some parents send the spicy cornflakes to their children studying overseas.
“We don’t compromise on ingredients by replacing with those of a lower grade,’’ said Tracey Chan, co-ordinator of S.T.A.R. Youth which falls under Community Excel Services (CES).
Moms chip in during busy baking seasons such as Christmas and and Chinese New Year, or when there are big orders.
Before any recipe is developed, the center ensures that at least 60% to 70% of the process can be handled by their members who are differently abled.
“That is why we only concentrate on four types of cookies – spicy and cherry cornflakes, pineapple tarts and seaweed chips,’’ said Tracey.
“We hope to launch at least one new taste for 2021.’’
From the wealth of Sweets and Treats by artisans on The Artisans Haven, we can already have a good selection to taste and shop from.
And the list does not stop here … the story of Sweets and Treats continues.
Watch this space!