Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun

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Yilan – Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋Just across Ji Mi Park in Yilan is Chalet Gelato, a cute little cafe serving gelato made from the season’s freshest produce.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋It’s also a great rest stop especially on a hot day to enjoy a well-deserved dessert.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋How does a lemonade topped with freshly plucked peppermint leaves or matcha freeze made with tea leaves from Shizuoka prefecture sound? :)

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋The floor to ceiling glass lets you take in the greenery surrounding the little cafe while staying cool.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋Really helpful to have the popular combinations of gelato flavours listed out on the board, and look out for the seasonal flavours. What’s your favourite?

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋All the flavours look just as tantalizing. The flavours are usually determined by what fruits or nuts are in season, and kept as natural as possible. When in season, they have an interesting dragonfruit flavour.

Nothing artificial is added when making the gelato, just lots passion and hard work. Can you imagine squeezing a whole bucket of oranges by hand?!

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋I chose a lychee rose and matcha flavour combination.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋Time to enjoy. The texture was smooth and not overly sweet, with nature’s taste filling your palate.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋Time seems to move slowly in Yilan, as you automatically slow down to take in sights of its mountainous naturescape.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋I enjoyed the refreshing peppermint lemonade.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋And an affogato makes the day even better. Coffee, anyone?

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋
Address: 宜蘭縣宜蘭市和睦路鐵道一巷27號(宜興路與民權路交叉路口)
No. 27 Hemu Railway Road, Lane 1, Yilan, Taiwan
Tel: +886 3 933 3030
Opening Hours: 9:30AM – 6:00PM daily
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/chalet.gelato

Read more of my travels in Taiwan

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Sydney – OMGish Pretty Rose Gelato at i-Creamy

i-Creamy Artisan Gelato
This is easily the most Instagrammable gelato I have ever seen – it caught my attention when I chanced upon it on my Instagram feed, and I made it a point to visit i-Creamy on my next trip to Sydney.i-Creamy Artisan Gelato
i-Creamy is located within Sydney’s CBD at Skyview Plaza (street level) near Chinatown. There is some seating space within the shop and in the public area.
Image source: i-Creamy Facebook pagei-Creamy Artisan Gelato
The shop is opened by Thai Ben Chitmitrechareon, who studied at Carpigiani Gelato University where he was taught by Gelato Messina master Nick Palumbo. So no wonder all the staff were Thai. And guess the creative Thais would be more adept at crafting roses out of gelato.

There are at least 24 flavours of gelato available out of 96(!) rotating flavours, all made daily in-store. Not every flavour can be used though – look out for those indicated with a green leaf signage. You can choose up to 3 flavours for your rose gelato – do make sure that the flavours complement cos’ I don’t think a durian flavour would taste very nice when mixed with say, strawberry flavour. I went for the chocolate and black sesame flavours.

It was fun watching the Thai staff deftly shaping the gelato with their spatulas into floral treats…and I silently contemplated buying a tub of ice cream at home to play with at home.i-Creamy Artisan Gelato
Voila – I love flowers which look enough to eat! Taste-wise, the texture was thicker than usual probably because you need the hardness to shape the gelato. The taste was also lighter than the usual Italian gelato flavours which I favour at Gelato Messina. Go during off-peak hours as you may need to wait about 10-20mins for your gelato to be shaped depending on the crowd. Have fun creating your roses!

i-Creamy Artisan Gelato
Address: Shop 13 Skyview Plaza 531–551 George Street, Sydney
Opening Hours: 11:00AM – 10:0PM (Last order at 9:40PM)
Website: http://www.i-creamy.com.au

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Hong Kong – Via Tokyo: Matcha Goodness

Via TokyoIf there is a café that gained popularity primarily through social media, it has to be Via Tokyo in Hong Kong – I got to know about the place after seeing numerous Instagram posts about its amazing matcha soft serve and the cafe repeatedly winning OpenRice’s Best Restaurant Awards (voted by users). I only got to try it after two trips to Hong Kong.

Via TokyoThe original store at Causeway Bay is located at the corner of a residential building about 10 minutes walk from Causeway Bay MTR station. Via Tokyo is opened by restaurateur Kosei Kamatani, also the owner of Ramen Jo and even a shisha bar.

Via TokyoThe dessert café specialises in Japanese soft serve ice cream and pastries made with Kyoto matcha powder (finely milled green tea) and 3.6 Hokkaido milk (a brand of premium milk from Japan with 3.6% butterfat recognized for its creamy rich texture and hint of vanilla essence).

Via TokyoThe cafe offers three main flavours of soft serve (Vanilla, Matcha and Houjicha) in addition to seasonal flavours. Naturally the matcha flavour is the most popular. In order to encourage guests to try other flavours, the cafe doesn’t serve matcha flavour on Wednesdays. A very interesting marketing strategy indeed.

Via TokyoThe best times to visit is during odd hours (I visited at 3pm). Otherwise get ready to queue.

Via TokyoWhat would you have today? :)

Via TokyoSince it was my first time, I went for the 3-flavour waffle cup (Vanilla, Matcha and a seasonal Black Sesame flavour) served with shiratama, red bean paste and a candied chestnut. The taste wasn’t overpowering, and the texture was firm and smooth. I was initially worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish 3 servings all by myself, but obviously my fear was unfounded lol.

Via TokyoThe cafe serves tea-based cakes as well. There is a larger cake selection at their Tsim Sha Tsui outlet, which also serves kakigori (shaved ice dessert).

Via TokyoIf you are looking for a dessert place in Hong Kong, Via Tokyo would be a good choice for some soft serve ice cream. Another Japanese dessert place that you can also try is Sweets House Cha Cha. Itadakimasu!

Via Tokyo Causeway Bay
Address: Shop nos. 1A-1B, G/F., Leishun Court, 106-126 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Nearest Train Station: Causebay MTR Exit F1, walk down Jardine’s Bazaar towards Pennington St, then Leighton Road. About 10 mins walk
Tel: +852 28951116
Opening Hours: 11:00AM – 10:30PM (Sun-Thurs), 11:00AM – 11:00PM (Fri-Sat)
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/viatokyocafe

Via Tokyo Tsim Sha Tsui
Address: G/F, 29 Cameron Road Kowloon Tsim Sha Tsui
Nearest Train Station: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Exit B2. About 4 mins walk
Tel: +852 2385 6388
Opening Hours: 12:00PM – 11:00PM (Sun – Thurs), 12:00PM – 11:30PM (Fri – Sat)


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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.

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


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


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.
Even their mode of transport is so cute!

The theme of the place is whimsical, and great for families with kids or just about anybody with a sweet tooth (dats me!).
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 ;)
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.
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* :)
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.
My eyes lit up when I saw the alcohol series; there’s cherry liqueur, blueberry liqueur and even rice wine flavour!
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.
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.
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 ;)
These ink stamps are so Japanese-inspired!
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.
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 ;)
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!
Looking inside of Galaxy – Interesting flavour worth a try :)
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
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!
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