Chinese New Year 2016 begins on February 8, marking the start of the lunar calendar and the Year of the Monkey, according to Chinese zodiac. The festive occasion, which can last for many days, is filled with family reunions, street parades, and culinary traditions.
A range of locally-based eateries and companies in Vancouver are marking the Year of the Monkey by offering Lunar New Year-themed treats. From dark chocolate monkeys to special edition drinks, here are a few standout Chinese New Year foods (and drinks) to find in Vancouver.
Specializing in handmade French macarons, Gourmand Macaron will be celebrating the Lunar Monkey Year with a range of specially-made Chinese New Year-inspired macarons. These dainty red macarons will be adorned with golden hand written Chinese characters, meaning “good luck” or “fortune.” The decoration work on each macaron is done in collaboration with SweetNom Bakery. Three flavours will be available, including mandarin and dark chocolate, red bean and butter cream, and dark chocolate.
Where to buy: For large orders (minimum 80 pieces) order directly through Gourmand Macaron. Smaller batches will be available at La Petite Cuillere from January 30, and CC Violin from January 29.
Thomas Haas celebrates The Year of the Monkey with this unique hand-crafted and hand-painted 38% milk and 68% dark chocolate monkey ($19), which is adorned with a gold-foil-wrapped cocoa dark chocolate lucky “Loonie” and a hand-casted, cocoa butter-airbrushed white chocolate mandarin orange — a traditional symbol of abundance and good fortune.
Address: 2539 West Broadway Avenue
Address: Unit 128, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver
Coal Harbour’s Soirette celebrates the Year of the Monkey with delicious Mandarin Dark Chocolate Macarons. The talented pastry chefs at Soirette have created a mini tower, ideal for family gatherings to usher in the new year. The mini tower, which is decorated with 24K gold leaf, is available by pre-order for $88, and consists of around 30 macarons.
Address: 1433 West Pender Street
This popular Marpole bakery is currently offering five kinds of sticky rice cakes for Chinese New Year. Flavours include coconut, ginger, water chestnut, taro, and turnip.
Address: 8278 Granville Street
To celebrate the Year of the Monkey, French Made Baking have created a bunch of adorable monkey-shaped macarons ($3.50 each). Fillings include jasmine green tea ganache or black sesame-matcha ganache. These cute creations are available by order only. Orders must be placed by February 1, by phone (604-558-4880), email, or in person at the café.
Address: 81 Kingsway, Mount Pleasant
Richmond’s own Wild Sweets has released their luxurious chocolate collection for the Year of the Monkey. Featuring ingredients that represent prosperity, good fortune, longevity, and wealth, the set includes Lychee Longan, Caramel Ganache & Black Sesame Praline Cream; Mandarin Orange, Caramel Ganache & Coconut Praline Cream; Peach Persimmon, Caramel Ganache & Almond Praline Cream; and Mango Green Tea, Caramel Ganache & Peanut Praline Cream. The set of four each of the four flavours, presented with Wild Sweets’ Dominique and Cindy Duby with their signature artistic flair, retails for $21.88.
Where to buy: The chocolate set is available for purchase online.
Celebrate the Year of the Monkey with Okanagan Crush Pad’ s Haywire Winery’s third annual release of Lunar New Year red and white wines. Only 60 cases of these seasonal releases are available. The White is a blend of Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay, with small amounts of Pinot Gris and Viognier, which pairs well with steamed seafood, seafood soup, or fried rice. The fresh and juicy Red is blend of Gamay Noir and Syrah, and works great with stir fried vegetables, grilled sable fish or BBQ duck.
Where to buy: Order online or via the winery
Budweiser Canada has released a special edition lucky number “8” pack to mark the Year of the Monkey. With a bold red, and eight cans in one ring pack, these limited edition beers are $12.99 per 8-pack, and are only available at select BC Liquor Stores in the Metro Vancouver area.
Where to buy: Select BC Liquor Stores