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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


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Oh G.O.D. – You are finally in Singapore!

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore

Goods of Desire (also known as G.O.D.), a renowned Hong Kong lifestyle brand, has finally opened its first overseas store in Singapore’s Central on 7 July 2012. Co-founded by architects Douglas Young and Benjamin Lau in 1996 as a retail space in Ap Lei Chau. The creative brain behind G.O.D.’s purposefully provocative products is co-founder Douglas. Often seen around town with a farmer’s hat and straw bag, the architect likes to take everyday things out of context to create some sort of irony and humor. His innate interest in Hong Kong’s local culture and things that are normally overlooked often form his inspiration for the highly popular products. He also says he thinks best when doing ‘business’ in the loo. I think it would be way cool to be part of his design team where it’s practically no holds barred creativity.

“So often, it is the most nondescript of items, the ones we tend to disregard that, when you bring them to the forefront and celebrate their quiet existence, truly makes people smile.”
Douglas Young, Co-Founder, Goods of Desire

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Douglas Young

G.O.D. co-founder and creative brain Douglas Young with local DJ Pei Fen wearing a G.O.D. top at the store’s opening on 7 Jul.
Photo: G.O.D. Singapore

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore

The name Goods of Desire is derived from the phonetic translation of the Cantonese words meaning “to live better” (住好啲). Very clever and apt for a lifestyle brand indeed.

Taking up 6,000 square feet of retail space, Singapore will be the award-winning brand’s fourth largest store. The Singapore retail store will bear many firsts in terms of design and décor. Besides the unconventional entrance crafted to resemble an old Chinese copper coin, the Singapore store is the first to prominently feature the brand’s signature red lampshades which is reminiscent of those seen at Hong Kong’s butcher stalls at old school wet markets (red cos’ it makes the meat look more attractive).

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore Entrance

This way up to G.O.D.  – if only seeing THE holy one was that easy too!

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Red Lamp Shade Seating

G.O.D. Red Lamp Shade Seating – Notice the pairs of legs under seating? I really thought they were real people! Cute!

Goods of Desire G.O.D. - Storefront

Storefront via Level 2; An awesome photo backdrop


INSIDE THE STORE

Inside the store, salvaged heritage items are integrated into the store design as part of themed collages as G.O.D.’s environmental and social responsibility, with each of the four sections projecting a slightly different character – Fashion (mens, women & mens underwear), Gift Ideas (tons of quirky ideas!), Homeware (dining, bath and bedding products)and Furniture.

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - In Store

Inside G.O.D. Singapore

goods of desire

Asian-inspired umbrellas perched on a bicycle

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - In-store

Two of G.O.D. iconic series – Newspaper and Letterbox print series
Guess what’s the red and white letter boxes (bottom right) suppoused to be? Business card holders!

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Peony Print Series

G.O.D. iconic Peony Print series
I liked the little Chinese lion on the right, which I realised contains a foldable tote bag (S$48)!

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Refugee Series Bags

Another iconic Red, White, Blue Series Bags

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Panda Bambooed

Panda Series

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Fashion

G.O.D. Singapore – Fashion section
RIGHT: T-shirts were packaged to look like retro vinyl records

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Double happniess

My favourite Double Happiness series (I always like to be happy!)

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Double Happiness

Double Happiness galore!

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Condom Bedsheets

After so much happiness, how about some condom-printed bedlinen?

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Pillows

Interesting Therapy Pillows
Buckwheat pillowsare commonly used by health care professionals in hot or cold therapy for the relief of neck pain, headaches, muscle tension, snoring and sleeplessness. For cold therapy, place pillow in a refrigerator/freezer until desired temperature. To heat pillow, place in microwave on low setting. The Myrobalan pillow is an old Chinese tradition. Myrobalan leaves are naturally aromatic and provide good ventilation and support.
I got myself the Double Happiness buckwheat pillow, dabbed a few drops of lavender essential oil onto it and slept like a baby. It gave good support for the neck, and placing it on my chest gave me a good sense of security – I felt like a baby all over again! Good buy good buy!

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Aroma Oil

Japanese cherry aroma oil – this is my favourite scent from its range of aroma oils

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Tissue

From LEFT: Good Morning tissue box; Cream Cracker tissue box (my fave, nostalgic!); White Pig toilet roll holder

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Boxers

One of my fave items: Quirky Men Boxers (S$25)
LEFT says “Get it UP every morning”; RIGHT says “Servicing a Loved One”
So getting the left one for chum D…haha

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Mens Underwear

I got a bit shy when I saw this 3-D packaging for the mens underwear, that I forgot to take a photo at the store! heh.. Was tempted to get one for chum D, but didn’t quite know his package size. XXL, perhaps? That’s the happiest question for any man, I bet. LOL
Photo: G.O.D. Singapore

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Homeware

TOP: G.O.D.’s iconic Dim Sum Series Dining Set – there’ll always be yummy dim sum on your plate! Especially helpful when the meal sucks :p
LEFT: Wine carriers inspired by retro everyday items such as the dim sum basket, barber shop red-white-blue signage and hot water flask.
RIGHT: A teacup which looks like two stacked together.

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Coasters

Coasters with typical Hong Kong cha chan teng food such as bo lo bun, sandwich, instant noodles and french toast printed on them. I couldn’t resist these – Buy!

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Aprons

With aprons like these, I’m sure it’ll be no problem getting the man to help out in the kitchen *wink*

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Accessories

Charms inspired by Hong Kong’s heritage
1st row from left: Spitton, Hot water flash, Letterbox, Mooncake mould
2nd row from left: Camera, Watercan Spray, Telephone, Red Lantern
3rd row from left: Ping Pong table-tennis bat, Washing board, Clog, Piggy bank

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Products

1st row: quirky eye masks (the last one would be good when the missus is not feeling up for any ‘action’)
2nd row: Double Happiness scented Candles & Haversack, Mok Kwong Chu Notebook
3rd row: Tsim Sha Tsui Cosmetic Bag, Prosperity Fan, Shoe Pencil Case

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore -

Mahjong set which comes with a guidebook. Perfect gift for overseas friends, or enemies whom you want to earn their money off the mahjong table

G.O.D. will be specially designing a collection for the Singapore market with the local culture as inspiration. Douglas Young said in an interview he was most inspired by Singapore’s shophouses. I can’t wait to see his quirky interpretation of the architecture! The launch of this collection in the Singapore store is slated for the last quarter of the 2012.

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore - Delay No More Lah

G.O.D.’s infamous Delay No More slogan series (a pun on a notoriously common Cantonese cuss phrase) is given a local Singaporean flavour here with the ubiquitous “Lah”


G.O.D. VENDING MACHINE

The store’s pre-opening publicity activity deserves a mention – G.O.D. installed a “pop-up” vending machine at various places around Singapore. The machine is inspired by Hong Kong’s  Dai Pai Dong (Cantonese for “street hawker stall with a large signboard”) which are synonymous with the island. For S$2, you get a ‘lucky gold bar’ with a randomly inserted gift such as fridge magnets of ample bums in granny briefs, USB drives shaped like old letterboxes, and vouchers for the Delay No More slogan tees.


A YUMMY KIND OF MOONING

One item which I am looking forward to this Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節) is G.O.D.’s cheeky mooncakes. Launched in 2008, these highly popular mooncakes fashioned in the shape of a butt is a play-on-words representation of the festival’s date on the 15th day of the eight lunar month “八月十五“ – which also means “butt”. Seems like people are sick of the same round-shaped mooncakes – the very first batch of mooncakes sold out in a mere 20 minutes. The 2nd batch sold out in under an hour. It has since evolved from 4 to 8 designs, and I am so looking forward what other new ass-tonishing designs or flavours G.O.D. can come up with.

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Mooncakes

Goods of Desire Mooncakes (HK65 a box, 2011 price)
The mean thing is – you only get 1 design in a box, and you do not know which design you are getting. Which means you need to buy at least 8 boxes to get all 8 designs. Maybe we can start a mooncake-swapping movement like playing game cards just to save precious calories?

Goods of Desire - Mooncakes

Goods of Desire Mooncakes
Image: Christine Lau

Goods of Desire - Mooncakes

Goods of Desire Mooncakes
Image: Christine Lau

Goods of Desire G.O.D. Singapore Logo

Goods of Desire

6 Eu Tong Sen Street
#02-08 Central
Singapore 059817
Tel: +65 6593 3228
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goodsofdesire.sg/
Website: http://www.goodsofdesire.com/