spunktitud3

Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun


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Angelina Singapore – A taste of Parisian chic

Angelina Singapore
With cafes sprouting up like mushrooms after a rainy season in Singapore, it’s pretty hard to get me excited about any new openings now. Angelina is an exception – ‘she’ has been on my mind since I first visited its flagship store at Rue Du Rivoli in Paris. The Belle Époque ambience, the pretty cakes and awesomely rich hot chocolate stayed in my mind. So imagine my glee when I learnt that Angelina has opened at Capitol Piazza.

Angelina Singapore
The two-storey tearoom is located just at the main entrance of the shopping mall, opposite Saint Andrew’s Cathedral / City Hall MRT station.

Angelina Singapore
It’s only been three days of opening and already full house. Angelina’s famous customers include Coco Chanel – if it’s good enough for the dame, it’s good enough for me. Cakes and dining options such as breakfast, sandwiches and risotto are available.

Angelina Singapore
Bring home a taste of Parisian at the dessert boutique.

Angelina Singapore
A must-try at Angelina, other than their amazing Hot Chocolate L’Africain (takeaway available too!), is their iconic Mont Blanc made with meringue, light whipped cream and chestnut paste.

Angelina Singapore
Drooling, drooling…

Angelina Singapore
Pretty macarons

Angelina Singapore
All types of tantalizing handmade chocolate

Angelina Singapore
Shop at its dessert boutique just next to the tearoom for delicatessen products
including jams, spreads, chocolates and bottled hot chocolate. They make pretty gifts too.

Angelina Singapore
I had my eye on the chestnut cream, which would go well with bread as a morning spread, yum.

Angelina Singapore
This is pretty interesting too – traditional honey gingerbread.

Angelina Singapore
An array of spreads

Angelina Singapore
Now I don’t need to fly halfway round the world to have my hot chocolate. Nothing beats having it at the grand flagship boutique (which is at least 5 times the size of the Singapore store), but I do still look forward to chilling out at the tearoom with friends, reminiscing about my Parisian rendezvous and planning my next expedition.

Angelina
Capitol Galleria #01-82, 15 Stamford Road Singapore 178906 (City Hall MRT)
Tel: +65 63840481
Opening Hours: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Website: http://www.angelina-paris.fr/en
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AngelinaSingapore

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Taiwan – Step into a candylicious fairytale at Cingjing’s Nina de Chocolate 妮娜巧克力工坊

Nina_01

Who can ever resist such pretty bonbons?

Tucked away in the picturesque mountains of Cingjing, Nina de Chocolate is a cute, little candy house making exquisite handmade chocolate bearing interesting flavours with locally-sourced ingredients such as Cingjing gooseberry, kaoliang liqueur and even Alishan wasabi.
Nina_02Located within Florence Resort Villa, Nina de Chocolate reminds one of a candy house found in a fairytale. It is one of the attractions in Cingjing, and people come here to buy their special handmade chocolates home or have tea.
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Even their mode of transport is so cute!

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The theme of the place is whimsical, and great for families with kids or just about anybody with a sweet tooth (dats me!).
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Enjoy the cool air and have your chocolates at the outdoor terrace.
The chocolate atelier is maintained at an optimal 18 degrees celsius to ensure the best quality of chocolate, so if it gets too crowded, visitors are offered tea and invited to wait at the terrace for a short while.
Nina de Chocolate 妮娜巧克力工坊
With such delicious dessert, everyday is Christmas ;)
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Nina de Chocolate was opened by the owners of Florence Resort Villa as a present for their daughter named Nina who loves chocolate, and Nina also means ‘girl’ in Spanish.
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The interior of the shop is a cosy space with a retail area and chocolate DIY corner. All the girls were naturally attracted to the chocolate. The welcoming shop staff also offer you chocolate samplings *squealing with glee* :)
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Nina de Chocolate uses Swiss Lindt and Belgium chocolate to ensure a smooth, rich taste and no preservatives are used. They creatively use locally-sourced ingredients such as gooseberry and red tea from Cingjing, wasabi from Alishan, Kaoliang wine, Taiwanese black sugar and peaches to create unique flavours.
Nina_09How do I resist this amazing spread – I want to try every single flavour! :p The chocolatier also offers seasonal flavours, do ask for them when you visit.
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My eyes lit up when I saw the alcohol series; there’s cherry liqueur, blueberry liqueur and even rice wine flavour!
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Their attractive packaging makes for awesome gifts to bring home. Do note they do not keep long as no preservatives are used, so only buy if you are travelling home within the next 3 days.
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This is the lucky girl Nina :) By the way, the three Italian gondolas beside her are made of chocolate. They do not melt as the air in Cingjing is perennially cooling.
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These attractive chocolate pops sure make attractive gifts to bring back home for visitors.
Nina_12These chocolate-coated nuts have a slightly longer shelf life, so you can buy them home. They are easy to pack in the luggage too ;)
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These ink stamps are so Japanese-inspired!
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The pretty chocolatier introducing the cocoa bean to us, and showing how to make a chocolate-coated gooseberry which was freshly plucked.

Showing us how chocolate is prepared
Nina_16What’s more special than simply visiting a shop to buy chocolates? We made our own at their DIY chocolate-making class. Classes are held daily and each session lasts about 2 hours with a maximum 15 pax. While you can register on the spot, the DIY classes are pretty popular with kids and groups, so I would encourage you to make an advance booking online if you can.
Nina_17Here’s my very own chocolate mold and decorative ingredients; time to unleash the Picasso in me :)
Nina_18After you are done with your designs, chocolate which was earlier prepared by the staff is poured into the mould and put into the refrigerator to cool for 15 minutes.
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And viola – my masterpieces! :)
Nina_20Proudly showing off the fruits of our labour :) Nina_21
And we indulged in a chocolate feast to reward ourselves ;)
Nina_21
One of the most special flavours in the shop is this attractive pink-coloured one named Galaxy. Much like something out of Willy Wonka’s factory, it is made up of cotton candy, strawberry crisp balls, Belgium white chocolate and…… jumping sweets which fizzles in your mouth!
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Looking inside of Galaxy – Interesting flavour worth a try :)
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Oooh…the kaoliang rice wine is oozing out of my chocolate! *hic*
Nina_24I love dark chocolate, and the 85% raw chocolate sent me to the moon. I can still remember the feeling of smooth, rich chocolate filling up my mouth. Mmmmmmm…sinful pleasures ;p
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This green wasabi flavour is one of the shop’s most popular offerings – there were only three left! (And I ate two muahaha)
Nina_26Saying it with a chocolate – I LOVE it!
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My master creations all wrapped up and ready to go home with me :)
Nina_28Nina de Chocolate is really a fairytale come true, cos’ we had so much fun and chocolate to last the entire trip – I felt like a child again :) Do drop by for a visit the next time you are in Cingjing!

Nina de Chocolate 妮娜巧克力工坊
Address: 南投縣仁愛鄉大同村榮光巷8之3號 (at Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯民宿)
Tel: +886 (0)4 9280 2988
Opening hours: 9:00AM to 7:00PM
Website: http://www.nina-choc.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Nina.chocolat

Read more of my travels in Taiwan


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Wimbly Lu – Sweet neighbourhood getaway

Wimbly LU

Posing wtih my date at Wimbly Lu – a red & white Beetle from the 70s. Let’s run away and join the circus!  :)

Wimbly LU

One thing I can never, ever steer clear of is dessert. I have been seeing so many Instagram photos of Wimbly Lu, a cafe located in a private housing estate off Upper Serangoon Road, that I felt compelled to visit.
And with such a whimsical name that sounds like it came off a child’s storybook, my curiosity was further piqued.

Wimbly LU

Wimbly Lu was created by 2 television producers who decided to turn their passion for baking and chocolate-making into a business. It is housed in a refurbished shophouse with its wallpaper stripped bare to reveal the original red brick foundation.
The dessert cafe is almost always crowded, being well-patronized by fairly affluent youngsters and yuppies.

Wimbly LU

The decor is kept simple with a vintage touch, and I felt like I had just entered someone’s living room.

Wimbly LU

Dining area
The high glass ceiling welcomes natural lighting and together with the mismatched furniture, it felt cosy. Exit through the backdoor and it leads you to a small playground – a child’s play indeed.

Wimbly LU

The cafe serves a simple menu of mains and dessert, but if you have tummy space limitations – just go for the desserts. Especially the rootbeer cake and the waffles. Another plus point that the deserts are reasonably-priced.

Wimbly LU

Wimbly Lu’s signature chocolates are made daily in small batches with Belgian chocolate. At $2 a piece, they are an absolute steal.

Wimbly LU

My sugar level shot up by just looking at the dessert display. I almost wanted to lick the glass casing.

Wimbly LU

Did I tell you I have a weakness for tiramisu?

Wimbly LU

And marshmallow pies…

Wimbly LU

And, and, and Rocky Road?
*control, control – think of the disappearing waistline*

Wimbly LU

The chunks of crispy apple in the pies made me wet my lips

Wimbly LU

Chocolate decadence

Wimbly LU

Decent selection of beers to wash down the desserts. Sounds like a match made in heaven. :)

Wimbly LU

I settled for its signature Rootbeer Cake – befitting the nostalgic, child-like ambience
Rootbeer is a very nostalgic drink for me, and probably for lots of Singaporeans my generation who grew up with rootbeer floats. The floats held happy memories for me since they were usually family outings to the neighbourhood A&Ws.
The moist Rootbeer Cake was pretty decent, though I felt that the rootbeer taste was a tad subtle. I would prefer a stronger taste of my childhood memories. And remember the time when I weighed as light as a feather.

Wimbly LU

… and a Molten Lava Cake
Can you spot the chocolate lava waiting to ooze out?

Wimbly LU

Chocolate Milkshake for a happy ending
No wonder I weight a ton now.

Wimbly LU

When in doubt, chocolate is always the answer. Or make you feel good about your chosen answer. :)
It was a happy outing to Wimbly Lu and I will be back to try the much raved-about waffles.

Wimbly Lu
15-2, Jalan Riang
Singapore 358987
Tel: +65 6289 1489
Website: http://www.wimblylu.com
Facebook

Opening Hours
Tue – Fri: 1:00 pm – 10:30 pm (Closed on Mon)
Sat: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sun: 9:00 am – 10:30 pm

MRT Stations: Between Lorong Chuan MRT and Serangoon MRT
Buses: 58 & 105


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Au Chocolat – Old World French Chocolate Wonderland

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Au Chocolat – The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

I love adventures. And I can never resist chocolate. Au Chocolat naturally caught my attention when I was at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. I was drawn to the store like a moth to a candlelight. Covering almost 4,700 square feet (4 shop units), Au Chocolate is a locally-conceptualised French inspired Bistro and a Confiserie (confectionary) offering hand-made gelato, chocolates, cakes and lots more to get you on a sugar-high.

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Marrying old-world elegance and the nostalgic charm of Paris, Au Chocolat’s prominent façade of French fixtures instils a sense of nostalgia of French antiquated streets, and a perfect photo opportunity. A lot of thought was put into the shop décor – look out for a molten chocolate roof and a miniature vintage train set running across the ceiling, as well as staff dressed in aprons and straw boaters. I felt like I was in Willy Wonka’s factory, awed by all the candy I wanted to stuff into my mouth.

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

That’s OO the French bulldog (pronounced “oh oh”)

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

From left: Yufa, OO, Danielle,  Au Chocolat’s in-house characters

Opened by the folks behind Ku De Ta Singapore and Spanish restaurant Catalunya, a unique part of its marketing lies in its three cartoon characters, eight-year-old Danielle and her two cheeky dogs Yufa and OO (pronounced “oh oh”) as they wander around the fictional Au Chocolat Town. Created as a way to humanise the brand and make it more endearing to children, the characters will also front the range of store merchandise. The characters are based on Au Chocolat’s chief executive officers’ daughter, pug and French bulldog. There will be an on-going plot revolving around the three cartoon characters where kids can join them in their adventures in-store.  There are plans to produce children-friendly merchandise, a potential online club and even an Au Chocolat Theme Park.

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Au Chocolat has quite an amazing range of cheesecakes – NY Style, white choc raspberry, matcha with oreo base, mango ginger and Dutch apple. Maybe chicken rice flavour in the future?

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Cupcakes & brownies

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Pretty!

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

The retail section, which occupies about two-thirds of the entire space, will stock everything from cheesecakes and gelato in more than 20 flavours to truffles made on the spot.

Au Chocolat Confiserie
Patrons can enjoy the ultimate retail experience at the Au Chocolat Confiserie with its own master chocolatier at work in the chocolate atelier creating delectable works of art on site. The Au Chocolat Confiserie also hosts a pâtisserie with a great variety of mouth-watering desserts such as cakes, pies and pastries. There’s also a children’s menu to keep the young ones happy.

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Hand-made chocolates

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Gift ideas

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Watch as Au Chocolat’s in-house master chocolatier and patisserie Tai Chien Lin, formerly from the Raffles Hotel, prepare mouth-watering desserts at the chocolate atelier.

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Great chocolate gift set

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

I felt like putting my mouth at a spout and gobbling all those jelly beans…

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Old-fashioned candy in a spectrum of rainbow colours.

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Sweets rainbow in a bucket

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

The team behind all those delectable sweets and chocolate

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Elegant packaging

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Merchandise based on the three in-house cartoon characters, or join its membership club

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

I can’t agree more

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

This is my favourite retail product.

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Au Chocolat Bistro
The bistro will provide an all-day dining menu of traditional French flavours and international cuisine such as an all-day breakfast menu, salads, pastas, roasted meats, and hand-made savoury and sweet crepes. Expect a chocolaty twist on the dishes, such as a hollandaise dressing made with chocolate and wine reduction or a chocolate balsamic vinaigrette. Prices range from S$11 for starters to S$28 for meat-based dishes. The only bummer? You have to pay S$2 to eat the cake you bought at the confiserie at the bistro. Duh.

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Since it was a hot, sunny day, I decided to pamper myself with a gelato…

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

How to resist?!?

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

And that’s my calorie indulgence for the day – Sandwich ice cream in chocolate sorbet flavour. Pure cocoa decadence.

Au Chocolat - The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Come by soon, woof!

I am definitely impressed with the thought put in to create such a multi-dimensional brand consisting of so many different product offerings, and am excited to see how Au Chocolat develops. I believe it will become one of Singapore’s tourist attractions and will have no problem attracting a crowd amongst the locals too. While prices are slightly on the high side (it’s at Marina Bay Sands afterall), the overall in-store experience is special and friendly wait staff are always on hand to explain the products to you. I will be back to try more stuff. Damn that expanding waistline.

Au Chocolat
Bay Level L1-03 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 800000
Tel: +65 6688 7227 (bistro); +65 6688 7557 (confiserie)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/auchocolatsg
Website: www.auchocolat.com

Open: 11:00AM to midnight daily