What is Nama Chocolate?
Nama Chocolate, or Nama Choco (生チョコ) for short, is a type of ganache made with a simple yet divine blend of chocolate and cream cut into squares and dusted with a generous coating of rich cocoa powder. It’s essentially Japan’s take on the well-loved chocolate truffle.
Despite Japan not being a center player in the chocolate world, Nama Chocolate is a Japanese creation, invented by Yokohama-based confectionary company, “SilsMaria” (シルスマリア) in 1988. It boasts a silky, almost buttery texture that melts in your mouth, and has a rich, creamy and chocolatey flavor. It is a popular gift or souvenir chocolate, especially the famous brand “Royce” from Hokkaido.
The name “Nama Chocolate” comes from the Japanese word “nama” (生) which means fresh (or raw/uncooked) and highlights the use of fresh cream (nama kurimu), as one of its key ingredients. Because of its high moisture content, it has a shorter shelf life than regular chocolate truffles and must be refrigerated.
Due to its simple ingredients and preparation combined with its luxurious taste, it is a popular chocolate to make at home and gift to loved ones on Valentine’s day in Japan.
How I Developed This Recipe
With this recipe, my goal was to recreate the luxurious taste and velvety texture of popular Japanese Nama Chocolate brands whilst keeping the process as simple as possible.
This meant playing around with chocolate to cream ratios and being mindful of extra ingredients, I didn’t want to overcomplicate the recipe!
I believe I have created the ultimate homemade Nama Chocolate with a perfectly balanced flavor and an addictive silky texture that will leave you wanting more. Whether its a gift for a loved one or you’re treating yourself (and you should!) I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!
Ingredients & Substitution Ideas
- Milk chocolate: Since chocolate is the main ingredient in this recipe, it’s important to get the good stuff. I recommend using a quality milk chocolate with between 20-40% cocoa mass. I used Japanese “Meiji Hi Milk” which has 20-30% cocoa and a sweet creamy taste. This recipe will work with semi-sweet or dark chocolate, but you will need to add more cream (the amount depends on the cocoa percentage) and the result will be intensely chocolatey. I don’t add any extra sugar in this recipe and the sweetness will rely on the sugar content in the chocolate, so keep this in mind when selecting your chocolate. Don’t be tempted to use chocolate chips for this recipe!
- Heavy cream: Cream with a milk fat percentage above 36% is ideal for the best texture and creamy flavor.
- Unsalted butter: Not essential but I find a small amount of butter makes the nama chocolate richer and even more delicious. Opt for unsalted to avoid adding salt to the chocolates.
- Liquor (optional): Adding liquor will add depth to your chocolate, and make it taste more like the Nama Chocolate you find in Japan (most stores include liquor in their ingredients). I used Cointreau (an orange flavored triple-sec) but other flavored liquors work well such as Grand Marnier or Chambord. You could also use rum, whisky, brandy etc. If you want to leave out the alcohol, replace with an equal amount of heavy cream.
- Cocoa powder: Use to dust the top at the end. If you want the nama chocolate to be fully coated you can roll them in the cocoa powder if you prefer.
Curious about the exact brands and products that bring my recipes to life? Discover the brands and ingredients behind my recipes at the Sudachi Amazon Storefront. Explore my handpicked pantry essentials and find your next kitchen favorites!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
Visual Walkthrough & Tips
Here are my step-by-step instructions for how to make Authentic Ponzu Sauce at home. For ingredient quantities and simplified instructions, scroll down for the Printable Recipe Card below.
Finely cut the chocolate into small flakes. The smaller you cut, the easier it will melt. It is important not to leave any big chunks here.
Once cut, place in a heatproof bowl.
Pour the cream, butter and liquor (if using) into a heatproof jug and cover with plastic wrap. Heat in the microwave in 20-30 second intervals until it reaches just below 70°C, make sure not to boil it.
Alternatively, heat the ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat until small bubbles start to appear around the edge.
Pour the cream into the bowl of chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds.
Mix until the chocolate has completely melted and you have a smooth, lump free mixture. Tip: If you find stubborn lumps of chocolate in your mixture, heat the bowl over a bain marie (hot water bath) to help melt it completely.
Line a container with baking paper and pour the chocolate inside. Smooth out the top and leave it to reach room temperature before covering and placing in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
Tip: Cut the baking paper larger than your container so it’s easy to lift out once set.
Take the set nama chocolate out of the container and trim the edges (you can eat them as a taste test!). Cut into equal pieces and dust with cocoa powder.
Enjoy!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
How to Store
Nama Chocolate contains fresh cream and needs to be kept refrigerated. I recommend consuming within 4 days. If you are giving them as a gift, make sure to tell the receiver this information!
For longer storage, Nama Chocolate is freezable. Cut into pieces before storing and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator to prevent melting.
Most Nama Chocolates in Japan contain alcohol and this will be listed in their ingredients. To achieve a similar flavor to store-bought versions, I’ve included alcohol as an optional ingredient in my recipe. If you cannot consume alcohol, you can omit and still enjoy homemade Nama Chocolate!
Due to its high cream content, Nama Chocolate melts faster than regular chocolate and needs to be kept chilled. It literally melts in your mouth, that’s the beauty of it!
If you are giving Nama Chocolate as a gift or bringing it to an event, be sure to store it in a cool bag with an ice pack and refrigerate as soon as possible.
I hope you enjoy this easy homemade Nama Chocolate recipe! If you try it out, I’d really appreciate it if you could spare a moment to let me know what you thought by giving a review and star rating in the comments below. It’s also helpful to share any adjustments you made to the recipe with our other readers. Thank you!
More Chocolate Recipes
Want more inspiration? Explore my Japanese Dessert Roundup Post for a carefully selected collection of tasty recipe ideas to spark your next tea party!
Nama Chocolate (Japanese Valentine’s Day Chocolate)
- 255 g milk chocolate 20-40% cocoa mass recommended
- 120 ml heavy cream 36% milk fat or higher
- 15 g unsalted butter
- ½ tbsp liquor of choice or equal amount of heavy cream
- cocoa powder for dusting
- Cut 255 g milk chocolate into small flakes. The smaller the flakes, the better it will melt. Transfer to a heatproof bowl.
- Pour 120 ml heavy cream into a heatproof jug and add 15 g unsalted butter and ½ tbsp liquor of choice. Heat on low power in 20-30 second intervals until it reaches about 70 °C (158 °F). Alternatively, heat on the stove until small bubbles appear around the edge. (Do not boil)
- Pour the heated cream mixture into the chocolate and set it sit for 30 seconds. Stir until all the chocolate has melted into the cream. If the mixture is not smooth, heat further over a hot water bath to help melt the chocolate fully.
- Pour into a mold lined with baking paper and cool to room temperature before covering and placing in the refrigerator for about 3-4 hours.
- Remove from the mold and trim the edges. Cut into equally sized pieces and dust with cocoa powder.