Happy Valentine’s Day (or Singles Awareness Day…whatever floats your boat)~
I thought BAYOG should do something special. Being a foodie (and a fatty) I thought the best thing I could do is write about Valentine’s Day chocolate!~ I’m pretty sure you’ve all seen some kind of Valentine’s themed episode for an anime or drama. The Valentine’s tradition in Japan is that girls will give homemade or store-bought chocolates to their friends, co-workers, crushes, or significant others. Men then give a return gift on March 14th, also known as White Day. South Korea basically has the same tradition when it comes to Valentine’s Day and White Day. I’ve prepared something special as well: How to make Valentine’s Day chocolate. That’ll be towards the end.
Now in regards to the Japanese traditions you see in anime or dramas, there are two categories for Valentine’s Day chocolate. The first one is 義理チョコ/Giri Choco, or “obligation chocolate”. These tend to be the more inexpensive quality type of chocolate. They’re the chocolates given to friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. Basically it’s chocolate for people you have no romantic interest/feelings for. It’s given to those people so they won’t feel left out.
The second category is 本命チョコ/Honmei Choco, or “true feeling chocolate”. This is the important one where we’ve seen basically every anime girl and guy worry over. These are chocolates given to crushes and significant others. Basically it’s the chocolate for those you have actual romantic feelings for. They tend to be the more expensive and better quality type of chocolate. Basically your sincerest feelings are put into the chocolate. We’ve seen all the anime scenarios where the girl (sometimes with friends) practice making chocolates for several days, or they spend all night making chocolates. Again, they gotta do their best to impress senpai or whatever.
So yeah, now you know why A-chan be working so hard on those chocolates for B-kun. And why B-kun and friends worry about whether they’ll be receiving giri choco or honmei choco. Don’t forget that typical trope of whoever gets the most chocolate is the most popular. Of course Valentine’s Day treats aren’t limited only to chocolates. Sometimes it’s cakes, cookies, etc. You get the point.
Still, don’t you ever see those episodes and wish you could have some of those chocolates? Perhaps you wish you could make chocolates to give to a Valentine. Have no fear. I told you, I’m a foodie and a fatty. I know how to make one of the most popular and simplest of chocolates: 生チョコレート/nama choco. Yes, this is the special part of the post. Minty is here to teach you how to make nama choco. You can make it for friends or that special someone. Or if you’re forever alone, make it for yourself. Whatever.
“Minty…what exactly is nama choco?” So “nama” basically means “raw” or “fresh”. Nama choco gets it’s name from using fresh cream. It’s basically made from mainly 3 simple ingredients: chocolate, fresh heavy cream, and cocoa powder. However, be warned that it must be kept in the fridge at all times and you gotta eat it within a few days. The chocolate itself is very smooth, rich, and melts in your mouth. It’s basically a firmer version of ganache, and basically chocolate truffles. The most famed nama choco is from Royce . I’m sure you’ve seen these at the airports in Japan. Royce is famed, high quality, and popular as souvenirs all throughout the year. Royce can be a bit pricey. Meltykiss chocolates by Meiji are your cheaper alternative to Royce. Meltykiss is a much cheaper nama choco that’s widely available in grocery stores (you can find them at Asian grocery stores in the US as well). It’s cheap, but still delicious. In terms of quality and price points, you can think of it as something like Godiva vs Hershey’s. Both brands have different flavored chocolates.
[LET’S MAKE SOME DAMN CHOCOLATE!]
Of course I’ll be teaching you the easy and hella basic nama choco. There are only a few ingredients. You can literally count it on one hand.
The required ingredients. Yeah I chose the fancier chocolate, because I love myself~ (♡°▽°♡)
Chocolate, Heavy Cream, Cocoa Powder
Butter, vanilla extract (or any flavor extract that you want) or liquor
Extra Optional Ingredients: nuts, fruits, sprinkles, etc.
-Melt the Chocolate-
The basic easy recipe has a ratio of one part heavy cream to 2 parts chocolate.
1) Make some hot water.
2) Put hot water in a big ass bowl (Bowl 1).
3) Put heavy cream in smaller bowl (Bowl 2).
4) Let Bowl 2 sit in the hot water in Bowl 1. Stir the heavy cream to warm it up.
5) Put in your chocolates. Mix with a spoon or spatula until everything is melted and incorporated. It may take some patience. You’ll know it’s done when it’s a smooth mixture with no lumps. Try not to get water in the chocolate. It won’t look pretty and can mess up the chocolate.
Fun Fact: The method used in melting the chocolate here is called the “bain-marie” or “double boiler” method! (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
Now if you just wanna be simple, you can just go ahead and pour that in little paper (or foil) dessert cups that are placed on a tray of some sort. You can also pour it into a tray/container that’s completely lined with wax/baking paper. Whatever you put it in, make sure to lightly tap the tray against the counter. This helps level out the chocolate and get out the air bubbles that would make your chocolate ugly.
I don’t even like almonds, but I used some as an example. (・ω・)b
Put the chocolate in the fridge to set for a few hours. Let’s say at least 4-5 hours to be safe.
If you put it in a rectangular tray/container, gently remove the chocolate out. Peel the sides of the wax/baking paper. Take a warm knife to cut the edges. Just run the knife under hot water and wipe off the water before cutting anything. This will make the chocolate look neat and presentable. You can snack on the scraps~ Then use the knife to cut your cleaned up chocolate into little squares.
Dust your chocolates with cocoa powder and we’re done.
Cooking is so fun~ Cooking is so fun~ Now it’s time to take a break and see what we have done~ Yay! It’s readyyyyy!~~
[Ways to Amp Up Your Chocolate! – Tips and Tricks]
You wanna be a bit fancier and amp it up?~
1) You can add a bit of butter to make it even richer.
2) Add a bit of vanilla extract. Adds a bit more of an extra sweet fragrance. You can use any flavored extract that you desire to add an extra flavor. I personally like to add peppermint~ Which I did to this batch…Minty chocolates are my signature dessert.
3) You can use a dash of your choice of liquor instead of a flavored extract. Boozy chocolates. I’m sure Nick would like that haha.
4) For milk tea flavored chocolates, steep a tea bag in the heavy cream. I recommend earl gray~ Once the cream has that tea flavor, remove the bag and then you can add the chocolates.
5) You can add nuts, sprinkles, or little cut up berries on top if you’d like. Just place it on the chocolate before you set it in the fridge.
6) You can skip the cocoa powder or substitute it with powdered sugar or matcha powder if you’d like.
7) You can also decorate it with plain melted chocolate.
It doesn’t matter if you choose milk (sweet), dark (bitter, less sweet), or semi-sweet (the in between) chocolate. Choose whichever is to your liking. It’s up to you if you prefer something sweeter, less sweet, or bitter. You can pick just one or do a mix as I did. I personally like to use semi-sweet with little bit of milk chocolate. You can use chocolate chips, wafers, or chopped up chocolate bars. The higher the quality chocolates (70% cocoa) will yield a higher quality nama choco. So basically it comes down to if you really care enough to go all out or not~ “Do I love this person -THAT- much?” haha~
If you somehow fucked up…it’s okay. Worst case scenario, melt it and add some more cream (and/or butter) to turn it into chocolate ganache. You can use said ganache as a sauce for some other dessert…like ice cream. You can also drizzle it on cakes or brownies. You could even do a little chocolate fondue. Dip some candies, marshmallows, pretzels, fruits, or even some little cakes or brownies. Whatever floats your boat.
Some chocolate truffles I made a while back.
Honestly, you can put whatever the heck you want in the chocolate. I’ve even heard of people putting honey in the cream before. That’s what cooking is all about. You don’t need to follow a recipe to a t. Make it your own~ Sorry it’s a bit of a hectic recipe. I’m better at teaching people things in person. I grew up in the restaurant business and the whole cooking thing my whole life, so I basically just eyeball everything and do what feels right. If my instructions are too confusing or you want a visual aid…I definitely recommend checking out this recipe [Here].
Sending you all love and hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day from the BAYOG Crew!~