Similar to ganache, nama chocolate is a type of silky chocolate that is made by mixing together melted cacao and fresh cream. The “nama” in nama chocolate translates to “fresh” or “raw” and refers to the pure taste and melt-in-your-mouth texture of the delicious treat. Often given as a souvenir or Valentine’s Day present, nama chocolate is typically sold in individually-wrapped, bite-sized pieces.
How Nama Chocolate Came To Be In Japan
The origins of nama chocolate can be traced back to the 1930s when “Pave de Geneva”, a similar chocolate made from the same two ingredients, was first invented in Switzerland. However, nama chocolate wasn’t popularized in Japan until 1993 when chef Masakazu Kobayashi joined forces with the snack company Meiji to create a new product called “Meltykiss”. Meltykiss is a nama chocolate variety that is still sold in Asian supermarkets and convenience stores today! It’s particularly popular in winter due to its low melting point which makes it difficult to store and eat in summer. Since the creation of Meltykiss, many confectionery retailers have begun to sell their own versions of nama chocolate.
ROYCE Nama Chocolate
One of the most famous brands producing nama chocolate is ROYCE. A Hokkaido-based company, ROYCE uses fresh Hokkaido cream to give their chocolates a signature rich taste. Due to the use of fresh cream, nama chocolate should be refrigerated and consumed within one month. For the optimal tasting experience, allow nama chocolate to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes after being removed from the fridge before indulging. The short shelf-life and recognizability of brands like ROYCE have both contributed to nama chocolate becoming a luxury treat.
Where To Find Nama Chocolate & Flavors To Try
For those visiting Japan, store-brand versions of nama chocolate can be found in just about any grocery store, while high-end varieties are sold at the airport, gift stores, and souvenir shops. The classic chocolate flavors are hard to beat, but different brands also manufacture seasonal flavors such as matcha, strawberry, and butter caramel throughout the year.
With its decadent texture and refined taste, nama chocolate is a must-try for any chocolate lover.
About the author:
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.