Rich and smooth homemade Nama Chocolate made with chocolate and fresh cream, this ROYCE’s copycat chocolate is a truly special treat. It’s one of the most popular gifts from Japan, but you can easily make it at home.
If you are a frequent visitor to Japan, you probably have heard of or tasted this Japanese chocolate called Nama Chocolate (生チョコレート). You can’t really avoid it at the airport gift shops. They come in fancy packaging that make them a popular gift item to bring home from Japan. Nama Chocolate is very rich, smooth, and moist. The best part? This delicate and silky chocolate literally melts in your mouth!
What is Nama Chocolate?
Nama Chocolate is a form of ganache, similar to the filling inside French truffles. It’s made of fresh cream and chocolate, cut into little cubes, and dusted with fine cocoa powder.
The chocolate can be called “Nama Chocolate” when it contains at least 40% chocolate and 10% cream by weight, and no more than 10% water.
Nama Chocolate is much easier to prepare than truffles because the chocolate is poured into a square pan, chilled until firm, then cut into mini squares. No messy hands since there’s no rolling required.
What Does Nama Mean in “Nama Chocolate”
Nama (生, pronounce [na-ma]) means raw or fresh in Japanese. The name “Nama” Chocolate refers to the plentiful use of rich, fresh cream in the chocolate.
Because of the fresh cream, Nama Chocolate must be kept in the refrigerator at all times and it is best enjoyed fresh, within 2-3 days after being made.
History of Nama Chocolate
In 1988, the owner and chef Masakazu Kobayashi at the sweet shop Sils Maria created a new type of chocolate, and he named this chocolate Nama Chocolate and Nama Choco (生チョコ) for short.
In 1993, Meiji, a snack company, released a chocolate product called Meltykiss (メルティーキッス) which was produced and supervised by chef Kobayashi. You can purchase a box of Meltykiss at Asian supermarkets, convenience stores and train kiosks in Japan. This chocolate is known for its limited time offering during the winter months as the chocolate melts quickly during the rest of seasons.
Since then, major confectionery manufacturers started to sell Nama Chocolate, and it became a huge trend all over the country.
In 1996, Hokkaido-based ROYCE’ (ロイズ) released ROYCE’ Nama Chocolate. Many of you probably spotted this chocolate at the airports or gift shops at sightseeing spots in Japan. Due to their popularity, this Nama Chocolate is known to visitors who have been to Japan.
Although “Nama Chocolate” was invented in Japan in the late ’80s, I want to mention that this specific type of chocolate called “Pave de Geneva” was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1930’s. Pave de Geneva is made of chocolate and fresh cream, and cut into small cubes smeared with cocoa, just like Nama Chocolate.
I’m not sure whether the Japanese chef had traveled to Geneva and knew of Pave de Geneva, or he figured out the Nama Chocolate formula on his own. Regardless, this is not an original Japanese product as it existed in Switzerland.
If you’re a Genevan who tried both Pave de Geneva and Nama Chocolate, please share your thoughts in the comment below. Are they similar or exactly the same?
Tips for Making Nama Chocolate
1. Use Good Chocolate
I highly recommend using high-quality chocolate since that’s the most important ingredient for making delicious Nama Chocolate. Make sure the chocolate is made of 100% cocoa butter, and does not including vegetable fat in the ingredient list.
2. Use Heavy Cream
American heavy cream or heavy whipping cream (they are the same thing) has 36%-38 fat content. The ratio of heavy (whipping) cream (ml) and chocolate (gram) should be 1:2. For this recipe, please do not replace chocolate with white chocolate (which I used in Green Tea Chocolate).
3. Dry and Clean Utensils
Make sure the bowls and utensils you are using are perfectly dry. Even a small amount of water/steam can “seize” the chocolate melting process. It can happen all of the sudden from a smooth bowl of liquid chocolate to a lumpy, grainy mass of chocolate.
These chocolate goodies are perfect for special occasions or as a hostess gift during the holiday season. I hope you enjoy making this Nama Chocolate recipe! If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #JustOneCookbook. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
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Watch How to Make Green Tea Chocolate (Matcha Nama Chocolate)
Here’s a Green Tea Matcha version!
- 400 g good quality dark chocolate (70% cacao) (Semisweet for less bitter taste) (400 g = 14 oz)
- 200 ml heavy cream or heavy whipping cream (38% fat) (200 ml = 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp)
- 1 Tbsp liqueur of your choice (optional)
- Cocoa powder (to coat the chocolate)
Gather all the ingredients.
- Chop the chocolate into smaller pieces using a knife so that they will melt faster and more evenly.
Line an 8" x 8" (20 x 20 cm baking dish with parchment paper. Choosing the right size tray is important for the height of chocolate (If you use a bigger tray, the chocolate will be flatter).
- Add the heavy cream into a small saucepan and bring it to ALMOST boil over medium heat. Keep an eye on the cream; when you see small bubbles around the saucepan, remove from the heat.
- Add the chocolate and stir till the chocolate and cream are completely combined. If you like, add liqueur of your choice.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Smooth the surface (which I forgoand refrigerate until firm, about 4-5 hours.
- Remove the chocolate from the baking dish and cut it into cubes using a warm knife. Make sure to warm the knife after each cutting to prevent splintering. Run the knife under hot running water and dry completely before each cut.
- Sprinkle the cocoa powder and serve it chilled. You can keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ BEFORE MAKING!
Make sure the bowls and utensils you are using are perfectly dry. Even a small amount of water/steam can "seize" the chocolate melting process.
The ratio of heavy whipping cream (ml) and chocolate (gram) should be 1:2. Please do not replace chocolate with white chocolate for this recipe. The ratio is not the same.
The two most common problems of working with chocolate are separating and seizing.
1) Separation (oil came out of the chocolate) happens when you get the chocolate too hot. Dark chocolate should never be heated above 120 degrees F (Milk chocolate and white chocolate should never be heated above 110 degrees F). When chocolate gets too hot, the cocoa butter separates from the solids, and there is no way to salvage it (although you can bake with it and it tastes fine). The best way to prevent separation is to use gentle heat (simmer on lowest heat) and stir frequently. Since we're not using a double boiler in this recipe, make sure you do not bring the heavy whipping cream to a full boil. Remove from heat as soon as you saw bubbles around the edges of the saucepan.
2) Seizing happens when moisture is introduced to melted chocolate (even a tiny amount of liquid or steam). It happens all the sudden from a smooth bowl of liquid chocolate to a lumpy, grainy mass of chocolate.
To learn more details and how to fix the overheated or seized chocolate, please read HERE.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on February 6, 2012. The content has been updated.