Matcha Nama Chocolate with Cherry Brandy

Imagine when someone presents you with pieces of delicately crafted chocolates made by him/herself as a gift, how would you feel about it? Delighted? Surprised? Grateful? For me, I feel LOVE is in the air 😉 Somehow, chocolate is often associated with Valentine’s Day in Asia. A box of luxurious ROYCE’ Nama Chocolate conveys love and care to the person who receives the chocolate. Isn’t that amazing? Since I want to be the genie who dispense love and happiness, I tested a recipe and made some nama chocolate at home.

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You may wonder, what does “Nama” actually mean? “Nama” means raw in Japanese, and here it implies pureness and freshness. According to the Michelin Guide, nama chocolate originates from Japan. The first nama chocolate was created by chocolatier Mr. Masakazu Kobayashi, the founder of Sils Maria, in 1988. The first store was established in 1982 in Hiratsuka-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture. Later on, Hokkaido-based ROYCE’ began producing nama chocolate in 1996. ROYCE’ successfully brings nama chocolate to a whole new level, transforming it into a popular souvenir at airports or gift shops in Japan.

To make nama chocolate, you need two key ingredients, similar to making ganache and chocolate truffle. These two ingredients are fine quality chocolate and cream (fat content of at least 35%). What exactly is a “fine quality” chocolate here? I am referring to couverture chocolate that consists of 100% cocoa butter, without any vegetable fat. So, DO NOT use compound chocolate because you would not achieve the melt-in-the-mouth kind of mouthfeel. An additional ingredient I added to my nama chocolate is the cocoa butter, a fat pressed out of cacao beans. Since cocoa butter melts just below body temperature (34 – 38 Degrees Celsius), it contributes to the velvety smooth texture.

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Cocoa butter

Here is how I made the matcha nama chocolate with a splash of cherry brandy.

Ingredients: (yield: one 9″ square tray)

White chocolate buttons (couverture) 435g
Whipping cream 133g
Matcha powder, sifted 33g
Cocoa butter 30g
Cherry Brandy 38g
Additional matcha powder, to dust the chocolate

Method:

  1. Prepare a 9″ X 9″ square mousse frame, and wrap the bottom with plastic film. Alternatively, if you can use a 9″ square baking tray. Line the tray with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the matcha powder and set aside.
  3. Melt the cocoa butter. Remove from heat once all cocoa butter melts. Set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, put in white chocolate and whipping cream. (Note: chop the white chocolate into small pieces if you are using white chocolate block.)
  5. Heat up to melt the white chocolate and cream over a double boiler, simply by placing the mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water. Do take note that the bottom of the mixing bowl should not be in contact with the simmering water.
  6. Stir occasionally with a whisk and mix well. Ensure all white chocolates have melted and formed a smooth emulsion with the cream.
  7. Add in matcha powder. Mix well using a whisk.
  8. Add in melted cocoa butter, and mix well.
  9. Add in cherry brandy.
  10. Transfer chocolate to the mousse frame or tray.
  11. Refrigerate or freeze to set the chocolate. img_8939
  12. Cut into square pieces using a warm knife.  img_8941
  13. Dust the nama chocolate with additional matcha powder, and serve immediately.

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