If you have a sweet tooth, it’s always a quest to find something that is rich, smooth, and sweetish to pop into your cravings. Nama chocolates are just the perfect sweets that will end all your quests. Today, we are going to give this best chocolate from Japan a good homemade mimic using superb quality dark chocolate and silky fresh cream making this a wonderful treat. You can make Japan’s popular edible gifts easily in the comfort of your home.
What is Nama Chocolate?
In Japanese, Nama refers to as raw, fresh, or pure. Nama chocolate is a mixture of melted cacao and fresh milk. When it hardens, it becomes a block of chocolate. It is then cut into cube serving pieces and dusted on top with cocoa powder. It is very similar to the filling and ingredient of French truffles or chocolate truffles. They only differ in the ratio of ingredients and shape. It is really thick, creamy, and melts smoothly when eaten. This is because it is made of high-quality cream and chocolate coverture containing high percentage cocoa butter. (In this recipe, I will show you how to use standard chocolates you can easily find in leading stores in making Nama chocolate that will come out as tasty.) Although Nama chocolates are available in several stores in other countries, it can’t be transported out of the city because it melts quickly.
What are the characteristics of Nama chocolate? How is it different from regular ones?
Nama chocolates are cubes of unique, tasty chocolate for the following reasons: First, it has a shorter shelf life. Unlike regular chocolates that can be stored more than a month, Nama chocolate expires quickly with only one month on its shelf life. Second, it should be kept at a specific temperature as it melts quickly. It maintains an ideal temperature between 3 deg. to 4 deg. Celsius which is lower than typical chocolates. To keep it in low temperature, consumers are advised to keep it in insulated bags to keep it cold if they are traveling. Otherwise, it loses its shape. Third, while other chocolates can be used for cooking or baking, Nama chocolate doesn’t have that capability since it incorporates fresh cream. Therefore, consumers are recommended to eat Nama chocolate directly. To taste the full goodness of each Nama chocolates, it must be kept in the refrigerator and let it sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.
History of Nama Chocolate
It was in 1988 when the owner and chef of the sweet shop Sils Maria, Masakazu Kobayashi, invented a new type of chocolate, which he named Nama chocolate or Nama choco. In 1993, chef Kobayashi joined the giant sweet snack producer Meiji and brought with him the Melty Kiss, which became an instant favorite among Asians as it represents how it melts smoothly in your mouth when eaten. Melty Kiss can be found in leading Asian supermarkets, train kiosks, and convenience stores for a limited time only. Since it melts quickly, it can only be purchased during wintertime.
Although the concept of mixing the chocolate with fresh cream dates back as early as the 1930s in Geneva, Switzerland, which they call “Pave de Geneva”, a type of chocolate and cream mixture, that is cut into cubes and dusted with cocoa powder just like Nama chocolate.
In 1996, Royce, the brand that is actively making Nama chocolate began its production and had been going strong since then. It has its kiosk and shops all over Asia and some across the U.S., but its popularity prevailed much in its home country Japan. It has since offered different flavors of Nama chocolate such as original, matcha, bitter, and white chocolate, and champagne flavors. It also has an array of products like chocolate bars, bite-sized chocolates, and even potato coated chocolates but it is the joy that that original Nama chocolate truffles bring surpasses all other flavors.
Tips for Making Nama Chocolate
It is important to note that the use of high-quality chocolate is a vital ingredient in making luscious Nama chocolate. It is best to choose a chocolate that is 100% made of cocoa butter and should not include vegetable oil in the list of ingredients.
Use Heavy Cream
In this recipe, the ratio between heavy whipping cream (gram/ml) and chocolate (gram) should be 1:2 or at least 1:1.5 and dark chocolate will be used (mostly, I prefer a little bit of milk chocolate will be a hit and unique taste, to me). Please do not replace the dark chocolate with white chocolate as they differ from each other.
Dry and Clean Utensils
Make sure the bowls or any kitchen tools that you use are perfectly dry because water is the enemy of chocolate. Even a little of it can ruin the chocolate melting process, and the texture may become lumpy or grainy.
Can you make Nama chocolate at home?
It has been customary for Japanese to send out chocolates on Valentine’s Day, therefore, there are no short of recipes in magazines or even on the internet around this time, especially for Nama chocolates. This only shows that making Nama chocolates at home is not a hard thing to do. The procedure is continuously the same from melting the cacao, mixing in cream, and refrigerating. The question lies in the ideal ratio between chocolate and cream because people’s taste varies. It doesn’t have a perfect formula but it takes some experimentation to pinpoint what works best for your taste buds. These cube size chocolates have a rich flavor, smooth texture, and agreeably produce a melt in your mouth experience that one Nama chocolate cube is not enough to satisfy the sweet tooth. But of course, the key is always to indulge in moderation.
Chocolate, as they say, is the ultimate gift that delight your loved ones immensely if it is a high-end chocolate like Royce’s Nama chocolate. Give this recipe a try and it will bring you a closer experience in tasting Royce’s Nama chocolate from Japan without leaving your home.
As always, shoot me whatever questions you may have with this recipe.
Nama Chocolate (Royce Copycat) Recipe
- 278 ml heavy cream
- 433 g dark chocolate good quality (60-70%) cacao is the best
- 45 g milk chocolate optional, if not using the milk chocolate, please 45g to the dark chocolate
- 25 g unsalted butter
- 35 ml rum optional, if you don't like rum, don't worry
- Get all the ingredients ready: heavy cream, dark chocolate, milk chocolate (optional), unsalted butter, rum (optional).
- On a chopping board with a sharp knife, chop the chocolate into fine pieces, this will help later on to melt easily and evenly.
- Leave unsalted butter at room temperature and cut into small pieces.
- Place all the chopped chocolate in to a big mixer bowl.
Step by Step
- In a saucepan, bring 278ml of heavy cream (thicken cream) to 80C (176F), make sure not to bring it to boil, otherwise you will burn the chocolate later on (smell very bad).
- Then pour the warm heavy cream into the chopped chocolate bowl, then slowly stirring from inside out by a hand mixer.
- Add cut unsalted butter and keep stirring until the chocolate ganache completely smooth and make sure there is no lumps.
- At this point you can add rum in and give it a stir (this step is just optional as I mention above).
- Sift the mixture into a tray (I use the tray with dimension 25cm x 18cm), but you can use a popular dimension 20cm x 20cm with silicon paper on it, this step to me is very important to make sure there is nothing left other than the Ganache mixture, I experience sometimes I found a very tiny piece of paper from butter wrap and you don't want it, sometimes it helps to prevent the bubbles in a mixture. A extra step but I always feel good at it.
- Gently tap the tray on the bench will help the chocolate mixture running evenly and smoothly.
- Place the tray into freezer about 3 hours to set.
- Peel off the parchment paper and cut the slab on a board, 3cm x 3cm will be a good idea size to start with.
- Sprinkle coco powder on top, decoration with golden leaves or leave it blank. If you would like to have all sides with cocoa powder, you can dip in cocoa powder to coat all sides.
- The chocolate nama slab can store in the freezer for a month, before serving, cut them into square shapes, decorate with coco powder on top.
- The ratio between chocolate and fresh cream should be 1.5 : 1 or 2:1. If amount of chocolate ratio lower than that, the Nama ganache will very soft and hard to handle with.
- The quality dark chocolate is couverture chocolate which has cacao oil instead of vegetable oil. But couveture chocolate is hard to buy and costly, you can buy the standard chocolate any where (which contains vegetable oil) as long as the cacao around 60% to 70%