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  4. 9 Best Tried and True Japanese Nama Chocolates of 2023 (Royce', Sils Maria, and more)
  • 9 Best Tried and True Japanese Nama Chocolates of 2023 (Royce', Sils Maria, and more) 1
  • 9 Best Tried and True Japanese Nama Chocolates of 2023 (Royce', Sils Maria, and more) 2
  • 9 Best Tried and True Japanese Nama Chocolates of 2023 (Royce', Sils Maria, and more) 3
  • 9 Best Tried and True Japanese Nama Chocolates of 2023 (Royce', Sils Maria, and more) 4
  • 9 Best Tried and True Japanese Nama Chocolates of 2023 (Royce', Sils Maria, and more) 5

9 Best Tried and True Japanese Nama Chocolates of 2023 (Royce', Sils Maria, and more)

Nama chocolate, otherwise occasionally known as Japanese ganache or nama-choco, offers a totally different taste and flavor profile from regular chocolate. Nama chocolates can be great as a gift for someone special but are also a great way to reward yourself. There are also a variety of flavors, ranging from the standard milk and bitter chocolates, white chocolate, and even matcha flavors, to name a few, from brands like Royce', Sils Maria, and Ek Chuah. Recently, some nama chocolate brands have even collaborated with famous Japanese whisky distilleries like Taketsuru or Yamazaki! All of these options are great, but they can also make it hard to choose the best Japanese nama chocolate.


Figure out which were the best Japanese nama chocolates, we ordered the 7 most popular products from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and Yahoo! Shopping) and tested them all based on the following two points:

1. Deliciousness
2. Package Design


Which nama chocolates were our top picks? Keep reading to find out more! We'll also explain how to choose the right nama chocolate in our buying guide as well.

Last updated 10/03/2023
Ayumi Ichikawa
Expert
Chocolate Journalist
Ayumi Ichikawa

Ayumi is the only journalist and coordinator that specializes in chocolate. She covers the world 365 days a year both in Japan and cacao producing regions for the latest news and trends related to chocolate on various media platforms. She's been a chocolate lover for roughly 30 years, and now coordinates chocolate-related media and provides brand consulting.

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Table of Contents

What is Nama Chocolate?

What is Nama Chocolate?

You might think of Belgium or France when it comes to chocolate, but nama chocolate was invented in Japan in 1988 by SilsMaria, a confectionery located in Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, which is roughly an hour's drive away from Tokyo.


The Japanese word "nama" (生) means raw, fresh, or uncooked. While nama chocolate doesn't exactly mean that it's raw chocolate, it does use a healthy dose of fresh cream, otherwise known as "nama cream" (生クリーム)in Japanese. According to major Japanese chocolate company Royce', famed for its nama chocolates, the term "nama" is also in reference to describe its soft and velvety texture.


The National Chocolate Industry Fair Trade Council of Japan defines nama chocolate as chocolates with a cream content of 10% or more, a water content of 10% or more, and a chocolate base consisting of 60% or more of its total weight. What this means in practice is that nama chocolate is much softer than your standard chocolate and has a smooth, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

However, this means that nama chocolates must be refrigerated. Once they start melting, they become incredibly goopy and lose all of their texture, so if you plan on gifting a box of nama chocolates, be sure to keep it chilled.

Ayumi Ichikawa
Chocolate JournalistAyumi Ichikawa

While the first nama chocolate was made at a Japanese confectionery store, its roots can likely be traced back to Pave de Geneve, a popular Swiss souvenir. While this chocolate isn't exactly a household name in Europe, it became massively popular in Japan thanks to its smooth, silky texture.

How to Choose a Japanese Nama Chocolate

In this section, we'll go over some pointers on how to choose the best nama chocolate for you.

1

The Base Chocolate Determines If Your Nama Chocolate is Sweet or Bitter

In addition to using regular chocolate as its main ingredient, nama chocolate can also be made using white chocolate or bitter chocolate with a high cacao content. 


Additionally, there are other variations, such as matcha flavored nama chocolate or those that use lots of liquor. If you're choosing something for yourself, it's fairly obvious that you should choose something you like, but if it's for a gift, it's a good idea to know what your recipient likes.

For Sweet Tooths, Choose a Milk or White-Chocolate Base

For Sweet Tooths, Choose a Milk or White-Chocolate Base

If you want something that has that comforting chocolatey sweetness, choose a nama chocolate made from either plain or milk chocolate base. These chocolates have a lower cacao content than bitter chocolate, making them easier to eat for most.


If you want even sweeter nama chocolate, choose a white chocolate base. White chocolate doesn't contain any cocoa liquor, which is what gives chocolate its bitterness, and therefore has a more rounded, mellow taste.

Bitter Chocolates Offer More Cacao Flavors

Bitter Chocolates Offer More Cacao Flavors

If you're looking for a nama chocolate for someone who like the bitterness of cacao, choose a nama chocolate made with a bitter chocolate base. Bitter chocolate has 60% or higher cacao in them, so you'll really be able to taste its unique flavors. Bitter chocolate bases are great even for those who don't really like sweets.


If you're looking for an even more unique bitterness, consider matcha nama chocolate. While they're often made from a white chocolate base, they authentically replicate the signature flavors of matcha and offer a different kind of bitterness from cacao.

Consider Nama Chocolates With Alcohol

Consider Nama Chocolates With Alcohol

For alcohol fans, we recommend gifting nama chocolate made with alcohol. Since the soft, velvety texture of the nama chocolate directly conveys its flavors, if you or someone you're buying the nama chocolates for is of legal age and are known to have a drink on occasion, this would be a great nama chocolate to consider.


Lately, nama chocolates made in collaboration with Japanese whisky distilleries and sake breweries have been trending. If you're a fan of Japanese whisky or sake, then you might enjoy these collaborations.

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9 Best Japanese Nama Chocolates

We tested each of the nama chocolates for the following: deliciousness and package design. Then, based on how they performed on our tests, we graded and ranked the best Japanese nama chocolates available online.
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Products
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Key features
1

Royce' Chocolate

Nama Chocolate Bitter

Royce' Chocolate Nama Chocolate Bitter 1枚目

A Deep and Fragrant Bitter Nama Chocolate

2

Royce' Chocolate

Nama Chocolate Au Lait

Royce' Chocolate Nama Chocolate Au Lait 1枚目

A Rich and Creamy Milk Nama Chocolate

3

Royce' Chocolate

Nama Chocolate Champagne Pierre Mignon

Royce' Chocolate Nama Chocolate Champagne Pierre Mignon 1枚目

A Nama Chocolate With the Rewardingly Rich Fragrance of Champagne

4

Royce' Chocolate

Nama Chocolate White

Royce' Chocolate Nama Chocolate White 1枚目

A Light but Rich White Nama Chocolate

5

Itoh Kyuemon

Uji Matcha Nama Chocolate

Itoh Kyuemon Uji Matcha Nama Chocolate 1枚目

Nama Chocolate With Fragrant and Bitter Matcha Flavors

6

Royce' Chocolate

Nama Chocolate Matcha

Royce' Chocolate Nama Chocolate Matcha 1枚目

A Matcha Nama Chocolate With Rich Sweetness and Bitter Notes

7

Sils Maria CWK

Sils Milk

Sils Maria CWK Sils Milk 1枚目

A Nama Chocolate that Exquisitely Balances Chocolate and Fresh Cream

8

Ek Chuah

Nama Chocolate Brugse Klinkers Cobblestone Collection Milk S

Ek Chuah Nama Chocolate Brugse Klinkers Cobblestone Collection Milk S 1枚目

A Slow-Drip of Rich, Milky Deliciousness

9

Sils Maria CWK

Taketsuru Pure Malt Nama Chocolate

Sils Maria CWK Taketsuru Pure Malt Nama Chocolate 1枚目

A Boozy Nama Chocolate Made With Japanese Whisky

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

Royce' ChocolateNama Chocolate Bitter

Nama Chocolate Bitter Image 1
Nama Chocolate Bitter Image 2
Reference price
$58.95
Reference price
$58.95

A Deep and Fragrant Bitter Nama Chocolate

Royce' Chocolate's Nama Chocolate Bitter is made with carefully-selected brandy blended with moderately sweet chocolate and fresh cream from Hokkaido.

We found that the moment we took a piece in your mouth, our palates were treated to a rich fragrance and a slight bitterness. While this is technically bitter chocolate, it doesn't have an overpoweringly bitter taste and is balanced by a moderate sweetness. Our testers were thrilled how this product drew out the flavors of authentic chocolate to the fullest.

We also found that this chocolate melts on the tongue satisfyingly slowly, rather than vanishing in an instant. The cacao flavor lingered for a brief moment in the aftertaste, and the rich chocolate flavors were quite enjoyable.

Our testers were also fond of its classy, minimalist design. We feel that this nama chocolate is best for those who are looking for a box of nama chocolates that they can gift casually. It's also a great product for those who don't particularly have a sweet tooth since it's not too sweet!

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No.2

Royce' ChocolateNama Chocolate Au Lait

Nama Chocolate Au Lait Image 1
Source:item.rakuten.co.jp
Reference price
$19.00

A Rich and Creamy Milk Nama Chocolate

Royce' Chocolate's Nama Chocolate Au Lait uses fresh cream from Hokkaido and is the company's best-selling product among all of its nama chocolates.

After taking a bite, we were instantly met with a milky and creamy flavor that spread inside the mouth. With a light aftertaste, we found ourselves wanting more after each piece. We also think it can pair with all kinds of drinks since the nama chocolate doesn't have any strong tastes, but we liked pairing it with coffee or even a dry Japanese sake

Our testers were fond of the simple, navy-colored package design, which has a calm and relaxing feel to it. Overall, we think this nama chocolate is a great choice for when you're unsure of what to get or when you don't know your recipient's tastes.

No.3

Royce' ChocolateNama Chocolate Champagne Pierre Mignon

Reference price
$49.46

A Nama Chocolate With the Rewardingly Rich Fragrance of Champagne

Royce' Chocolate's Nama Chocolate Champagne Pierre Mignon is made with fruity champagne added to flavorful milk chocolate to create a refreshing, elegant flavor.

We thought it was an elegant nama chocolate thanks to the gorgeous fragrance of champagne. Initially, this nama chocolate has a fruity tartness to it, but its liquor-based flavors elevate its sweetness in the aftertaste.

Melting slowly in the mouth, we tasted strong and complex chocolate, liquor, and milk flavors. We think this nama chocolate would be best paired with champagne, unsurprisingly.

The package design stays true to Royce's design language, but has an air of luxuriousness to it thanks to its darker color. Since the package design overall isn't too loud, we think it would be a great gift for special occasions.

No.4

Royce' ChocolateNama Chocolate White

Reference price
$19.00

A Light but Rich White Nama Chocolate

Royce' Chocolate's Nama Chocolate White is made with a mixture of white chocolate and fresh cream from Hokkaido. Royce' claims this product has an elegant sweetness and light aftertaste.

While it had a buttery richness to it, it had a light aftertaste. Unlike other white chocolates, it was relatively light in sweetness, and it had a more prominent milk flavor, rather than chocolate.

Since it has a soft texture, the outer layer actually melted away quickly, but many of our testers commented that the center of this nama chocolate was firmer than Royce's Nama Chocolate Au Lait.

Its milk flavor lingered longer than its cacao flavor, so we recommend it to people who want to fully enjoy something with a dense and rich taste. The package design is a refreshing blue, making for a perfect gift to give casually.

No.5

Itoh KyuemonUji Matcha Nama Chocolate

Reference price
$23.62

Nama Chocolate With Fragrant and Bitter Matcha Flavors

Uji Green Tea Nama Chocolate is made by Itoh Kyuemon, a green tea shop with a long history, using their flavorful matcha to make this nama chocolate. This matcha nama chocolate is made by blending carefully selected uji matcha with white chocolate that isn't too sweet.

The matcha powder was fairly prominent, and we felt an authentically matcha-like fragrance and bitterness, while still being able to clearly taste the sweetness of the chocolate and milk, offering a well-balanced taste.

The texture was solid and firm, but it melted in the mouth and didn't linger uncomfortably on the tongue.

Our testers commented on its package design, noting that it was too similar to that of traditional Japanese sweets and didn't really match with their mental image of nama chocolate. Still, if you're a fan of matcha chocolate, this is one you definitely don't want to miss out on.

No.6

Royce' ChocolateNama Chocolate Matcha

Reference price
$19.00

A Matcha Nama Chocolate With Rich Sweetness and Bitter Notes

Royce' Chocolate's Nama Chocolate Matcha is made by blending matcha, fresh cream, and liquor for flavor, resulting in a light and fragrant matcha nama chocolate.

The rich sweetness was well-balanced with the slight bitterness of the matcha, making this a nama chocolate that was very easy to eat. The matcha didn't overpower the other flavors and instead offered a refreshing aftertaste.

The first thing we noticed once we had a piece was that the texture was initially sticky, but the nama chocolate melted quickly and smoothly, leaving behind a fragrant green tea flavor and a light aftertaste.

This is a great matcha nama chocolate for those who want a product that balances both chocolate and matcha flavors well.

No.7

Sils Maria CWKSils Milk

Reference price
$11.64

A Nama Chocolate that Exquisitely Balances Chocolate and Fresh Cream

Sils Maria's Sils Milk is the nama chocolate that started it all. This nama chocolate, which was the very first of its kind, is made from a blend of three different Belgian chocolates and fresh cream.


As soon as you eat a piece, we found that a sweet fragrance spread throughout our mouths, and our tongues were able to taste the sweetness of the chocolate and the flavors of the cacao. While it's a fairly simple product, it's made in a way that highlights the flavors of its ingredients, balancing its chocolate and fresh cream flavors.


It surprisingly had some firmness to it, but eventually gives way and slowly melts in your mouth. We think this would be great paired with a smoky whiskey.


Our testers also appreciated the minimalistic package, which matches the characteristics of the chocolates inside. Consider this product if you want a nama chocolate that you can take your time and enjoy.

No.8

Ek ChuahNama Chocolate Brugse Klinkers Cobblestone Collection Milk S

Reference price
$44.40

A Slow-Drip of Rich, Milky Deliciousness

Ek Chuah's nama chocolate is made from Belgian chocolate and fresh cream and has been loved by many for over 20 years.


Not only could we taste its milky flavors, but found our taste buds were gradually exposed to more and more sweetness. All the while, there was still a chocolatey richness to finish things off. This was definitely a nama chocolate where it just keeps getting better and better with time.


Texture-wise, they were slightly firm and there was some bite to them, but since each piece was relatively small, they melted in the mouth with no issues. However, they seem to have a higher oil content, leaving a heavy greasiness in the mouth. These nama chocolates are best for those who want to enjoy the rich flavors of fresh cream.

No.9

Sils Maria CWKTaketsuru Pure Malt Nama Chocolate

Reference price
$17.51

A Boozy Nama Chocolate Made With Japanese Whisky

Sils Maria CWK's Taketsuru Pure Malt Nama Chocolate is a product made in collaboration with Japanese whisky brand Taketsuru, a whisky known for its deep and rich flavors.


The moment you put a piece in your mouth, you'll be met with a strong boozy sharpness and fragrant whisky notes. While the aftertaste does have a chocolatey sweetness to it, it takes a back seat to Taketsuru's signature smoky flavors.


The mouthfeel of the nama chocolate is smooth, but the whisky taste lingers quite for some time, warming up the mouth as the chocolate melts. The chocolates come in a luxurious wooden box, making this the perfect gift for a whisky connoisseur.

How We Tested the Nama Chocolates

We gathered the 7 most popular nama chocolates available online from e-commerce sites popular in Japan like Amazon, Rakuten, and Yahoo! Shopping, and put each one to the test in order to find out which was the best nama chocolate.


We tested each product for the following:

  1. Deliciousness
  2. Package design

Test ① Deliciousness

Test ① Deliciousness

First off, we tested the deliciousness of each product. We gathered 12 Japanese men and women with ages ranging from their 20s to their 50s and asked them to compare all the nama chocolates focusing on the flavor and how well they melted in the mouth


Moreover, while this didn't factor into the rankings, we also had them rate each product's sweetness to find out just how sweet or bitter each nama chocolate is.

Test ② Package Design

Test ② Package Design

If you're going to gift a box of nama chocolates, you probably would want to give something that looks aesthetically pleasing. Nama chocolates are often gifted during Valentine's day, so we also had our testers evaluate each product's package design based on whether or not the package would lift their spirits if they purchased or gifted the product.

How to Store Nama Chocolate

How to Store Nama Chocolate

When you buy a box of nama chocolates, store them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator if possible. Minimizing temperature changes will ensure that your nama chocolates won't melt unexpectedly, and help retain their flavors.


Additionally, since nama chocolates are made with fresh cream, they have a shorter shelf life than regular chocolate. Be sure to check the expiration date, and finish the box before that date.

Ayumi Ichikawa
Chocolate JournalistAyumi Ichikawa

Nama chocolates have a tendency to absorb smells. Whenever you store them in your refrigerator, be sure your refrigerator doesn't have anything with strong scents in it. That also means you should keep your nama chocolates away from anything with strong spices or garlic, for example. 


Additionally, if you put the box in your refrigerator before you finish all of the chocolates, I recommend putting them in a resealable container or freezer bag.

Top 5 Japanese Nama Chocolates

No. 1: Royce' ChocolateNama Chocolate Bitter

No. 2: Royce' ChocolateNama Chocolate Au Lait

No. 3: Royce' ChocolateNama Chocolate Champagne Pierre Mignon

No. 4: Royce' ChocolateNama Chocolate White

No. 5: Itoh KyuemonUji Matcha Nama Chocolate

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The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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