Royce Chocolates: Why the fuss over chocolate?


Mention the word Royce and you either get a blank stare or a stream of praises that border on worshipful reverence. A chocolate brand hailing from Hokkaido, Japan, Royce has a loyal cult following of people who hoard boxes of these chocolates. Despite not being a chocolate fan, I made sure I had time to pick up a couple of boxes when I went to Singapore recently. I was very curious, “Why the fuss over chocolates?”

royce01

I brought home three boxes of chocolates. The Royce’ Potatochip Chocolate which totally intrigued me when I heard about it from Toni and the much vaunted Nama Chocolate which was said to be melt in the mouth good. Each box set me back by SGD14. Not as expensive as, say Godiva but still pricey enough for me to hesitate about buying more.

royce02

The first box I opened was the Potatochip Chocolate. I was worried about what Manila weather could do to the chocolate, yet I didn’t want to refrigerate since I was worried about what the fridge would do to the potato chips as well. So what’s a girl to do? Opening the bag, I was faced with large, rippled potato chips, doused on one side with rich, creamy chocolate. Because of the temperature, the chocolate was a bit on the soft side, coating your tongue with a thick, chocolaty blanket as soon as it touches your tongue, immediately followed by the savory saltiness of the actual potato chip.

While it was good with a lovely melding of flavor and texture, I couldn’t eat much after a certain point, I felt like my taste buds were being assaulted by the intensity of the flavors. Others will probably disagree with me but personally, a few chips is enough to satisfy. I took the risk of refrigerating what I had left and thankfully, it was still good even after that.

The other chocolate I bought, the Nama Chocolate was the one that really piqued my curiosity. It’s the one that has people spouting poetry. Plus, the fact that it comes wrapped in an insulated bag with an icepack made my eyebrows rise. All that, just for chocolate?

royce03

Described by fans as orgasmic melt-in-your-mouth chocolaty goodness, I was still a skeptic. “It’s just chocolate,” besides, it’s not really much to look at. Just small, plain, powdery looking squares. After taking a few photos, I popped one in my mouth.

*INSERT FIREWORKS HERE*

The Nama Chocolate is pure bliss. The first thing that hits your mouth is the strong, bitter cocoa powder. It coats your tongue with bitterness for a split second, setting the stage for the cold, creamy, rich chocolaty goodness that gently melts on your tongue, assaulting your senses with all that is divine. The world is suddenly a better place. I suspect it has a higher concentration of butterfat or maybe they infuse it with something to create that smooth texture. Still, we all need to indulge sometimes and Royce is definitely worth it.

royce04

There is a subtle hint of liqueur somewhere—I did try the Champagne variant after all, but it’s a pleasant, complementary flavor, heightening the creaminess of the chocolate. It’s not one of those ritzy liqueur filled bonbons that explode with strong flavors. It’s a pleasing, comforting bite of chocolate that soothes rather than titillates.

A friend told me that Nama means either fresh or raw in Japanese. In this case, it probably means fresh, denoting freshly made chocolate. Nama chocolate is highly perishable, with a relatively short shelf life (the box I bought expires in October) and needs to be kept below 10 degrees. Another friend also shared that her box melted once and it turned into a disgusting glop as the oils separated. Still, despite the hassle it entails, I find it all worth it. It’s really THAT GOOD. The only thing I find lamentable is the fact that you can’t stockpile much because it expires rather quickly and is really best enjoyed fresh.

Because it’s quite hard to find locally, it’s a favorite pabilin when people travel but I heard that Konbini, a Japanese convenience store in Greenhills, sells it locally.

Who knew chocolate, and such an unassuming little piece could enslave me, Ms.-I-don’t-have-a-sweet-tooth? Just goes to show two things. One, it pays to keep an open mind. And two, Japan is an awesome, awesome country.

Manila-based?
Grab some Royce from Konbini, along Connecticut St. in Greenhills. Reserve a box. Call them at 0916-6141935 (mobile) and 7224263 (landline).

Going to Singapore?
Get your Royce fix from the Royce kiosk right outside the supermarket area of Takashimaya Shopping Center in Ngee Ann City along Orchard Road.

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59 Responses to Royce Chocolates: Why the fuss over chocolate?

  1. aoitenshi says:

    That is my one big frustration about Singapore – I always forget to go to Royce! I know there’s a branch in Suntec, but somehow when I’m there it slips my mind. That chocolate looks so amazing! Gah. I’ve wanted to try their choco-coated potato chips for a long time. How’d you keep them from melting on the way back here?

  2. Jan says:

    ROYCE OMG. And the fact that it melts so easily means it’s of better quality: the more hassle chocolate is to store, the more cocoa butter and other good things it has!

    Funny thing: when my mum went to Tokyo, she couldn’t find any. When I went to Bangkok with her, it was in the first grocery store we went to.

  3. toni says:

    It does look THAT GOOD. I hope it’s always available in Konbini. I want. I want. I want.

  4. Mrs. G says:

    I got the white chocolate version when I was in Japan. Everything else was sold out.

    I’m going to Konbini later!

  5. Alexis says:

    I love Royce! My dad’s friends always get him when they go to Singapore.

    I think they all have liqueur in the them, cause the one we had tasted of hints of cherry liqueur or something.

  6. Tony Lou says:

    i like that the nama isn’t so bitter. i tried another variant. i think it was the white chocolate and i liked it, too. basta ang sarap. what i like most about is, just a few bites is enough to satisfy that choco fix.

    i want to try that chocolate covered chips. i love the combination of sweet and salty. and it’s okay to keep potato chips in the fridge. it doesn’t get soggy.

  7. I was weirded out by the chocolate-covered chips at first, but when I tried them, I was reminded of chocolate-covered pretzels. Nice mix of sweet and salty.

  8. OMG chocolate!

    I’ve heard really good things about choco potato chips, it looks like something I might try making this year for the holidays

    those nama chocolates look divine! I wish i had some here, i’m in a chocolate mood tonight lol

  9. lavendula says:

    i love Royce chocolates! i have a sweet tooth and the white chocolate variant is my favorite. but i have never tried the chocolate chips, it sounds interesting….im sure to try a pack when we go to Singapore next week.

    oh and yes the combini store in greenhills carries Royce.

    great pics!

  10. dyanie says:

    yay! i love these! so when i know someone who’s going to SG, this is a “must buy” hehe ;P

  11. Suzanne says:

    I agree with you. Japan is an awesome country.

    A lamentable fact is that I went to Japan and I’ve never tried Royce chocolates… I did get to eat something like nama chocolate there but still… I don’t think that it was Royce…

  12. I love Royce Chocolates, their the best. Konibini Store in Greenhills sells them…

  13. kaoko says:

    @aoitenshi
    I refrigerated them when we got to the place we were staying and removed / repacked in the insulated material only as we were leaving for the airport. The flight’s not that long so as long as you don’t expose it to extreme heat, it’ll probably be fine.

    @Jan
    I read up on them and it appears that the whole world domination thingie (aka exportation) is a recent development. I heard someone lamenting that a few years ago, the only place where you could get it was in Hokkaido. Thank god they decided to spread the love.

    @toni
    You can call ahead and reserve daw. A friend left it on one of my plurks, I’ll dig it up and append it to the post. Gimme a few minutes.

    @Mrs.G
    How’d you like the white? I’m not too enamored with the idea since I’m not a white chocolate fan (always found it too sweet) but still, I won’t judge it since I haven’t tried it. How does it compare to other white chocolates?

    @Alexis
    Lucky you! Total envy from me. Now that you mentioned it, even the box of Au Lait had a Cherry Marnier logo emblazoned on it so methinks you’re right about the liqueur.Not that I’ll complain, it’s a nice touch, tasting that hint of liqueur.

    @Tony Lou
    Yeah! I agree with you! A piece or two is enough to curb the craving. In fact, I prefer eating it that way. It feels more special, you know? You like the bitter? I’m excited, I asked my cousin for some bitter Nama chocolate, too. Can’t wait for him to come back home. Weekend, gimme my chocolates!

    @dementedchris
    It does take some getting used to, doesn’t it? Especially since the chips so remind me of Lay’s. It feels…wrong! Yet it has an addictive quality. I guess it’s because the flavors cancel out, like when you want a bite of an opposing flavor after eating something.

    @Jaguarrior
    Now that’s an idea! It does look fairly simple, I hope it’s not too difficult to do.

    @lavendula
    Thanks lavendula! It’s good to know I can rush to Greenhills if I get desperate. Royce, I love you.

    @dyanie
    It’s totally on my pabilin list now! I hear it’s also available in Hong Kong? *rubs hands and cackles evilly*

    @Suzanne
    It’s never too late! I hope someone land your way soon.

    @Rowena
    Aaaack, it looks like I really have to explore Greenhills soon. Why oh, why do I live so far away?

  14. joybur says:

    yes, the champagne variety is pure LURVE. make that WINNING LURVE.

  15. the_spouse says:

    a little out of topic.. but, speaking of visiting SG.. have you been to any of the Mo’s burgers outlets in SG?

    It’s supposed to be Japan’s answer to McDo.. and me loves it as well.

    Mo’s Cheeseburger.. love at first bite…

  16. kaoko says:

    @joybur
    Yuh! Champagne *huggles*

    @the_spouse
    DRAT! I heard about Mo’s ages ago and have been wanting to eat there. But I didn’t realize they had branches in SG. That would’ve been the perfect opportunity. Are there lots of branches there? I guess this means one thing…MUST GO BACK! Besides, I know I have to eat Tian-tian’s (at Maxwell Center) Hainanese Chicken again.

    • the_spouse says:

      madami! in orchard alone, they have 2 that i can remember: one in basement of isetann, then also in basement of takashimaya. then if you get off the cityhall mrt station, in the mall there (raffles city mall), they also have sa basement nila.. here’s a url to the other branches they have, when you take your next trip back to SG :-) too bad i can’t compare it with sango.. haven’t tried there yet..

      http://www.mosburger.com.sg/mos_outlets.php

      i totally agree with you on tian-tian’s chicken rice.. i have yet to try any other chicken rice that can beat that (or even come close to)… *drooooool*

      • kaoko says:

        Heehee, I made sure to try most of the popular Singaporean dishes from recommended restos / hawkers. Still, it’s really Tian-tian that I love the best—that’s saying a lot since we even ate No Signboard’s Chili Crabs & Cereal Prawns! I really have to work on that post. Unfortunately, sorting my Singapore vacation pics is a tough task!

        Thanks for the MOS link btw, I’ll be sure to go there next chance I get. I’m thinking about going back next year because I want to try more of their food.

        EDIT:

        Waaaai! There’s MOS in Hongkong! OMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM!

    • liz Syquia says:

      Next time you’re in SGP ,you must try their soya ice cream it’s heavenly.

  17. Dea says:

    Hello! I found this page while Googling images of Royce chocolates to post on a Multiply blog entry, yours were the nicest. I credited and linked back to your website, I hope you don’t mind.

  18. Sounds heavenly! I too am not a chocolate person because I think it’s overused and people just love anything that’s super sweet and described as chocolate. But your recommendation coming from a fellow choco-phobe is very encouraging!

  19. ila says:

    Ah, nama-choko. The ‘nama’ translates to ‘raw’, which is short for ‘raw cream (heavy cream)’. It gives the chocolate its soft, rich decadance.
    Oye, as much as I love them, they are hard to obtain around here unless there’s a Hokkaido products fair in the area. Unfortunately Royce wasn’t included in this year’s fair :(

  20. Mariko says:

    I LOVE Royce chocolates. I’ve been touting their qualities for a while now. I am so so sad that they don’t ship. Believe me, I tried. I’m just hoping that my local Japanese store will carry it again one day.

  21. Pingback: Royce is coming to Manila! | bento, restos & recipes at http://www.kitchencow.com

  22. Mi says:

    how to go to greenhills by public transportation? =X from Edsa?

  23. kaoko says:

    @aleta
    It’s very very very good. <3 Plus, since it comes in little bite-sized servings, you can go and enjoy the chocolate taste without feeling overloaded the way you do with big blocks of chocolate.

    @ila
    Thank you for solving the mystery! That makes so much sense. I was trying to research about it but unfortunately, I have zero Japanese comprehension. Will edit post to reflect that as soon as I have the time. I hope Royce finds its way to you soon!

    @Mariko
    I hope you find a reseller in your area soon. They’re being more open with expansion now. I remember a friend telling me that a couple of years ago, she couldn’t even find them in Tokyo! It was purely a Hokkaido product.

    @Mi
    Hehehe, I’m not the person to ask. South person here! :P

  24. Okay, I’m the one with the blank stare, but I’m intrigued enough to try it out when they do come. I’ll buy what you had para safe. Thank you!

  25. GUS says:

    yup, the Nama chocolates are real fantastic! i thought the potato chips were overrated,though.

    Royce also has an outlet at the 3/F Harbour City mall, Kowloon side, Hong Kong (right across Page One and near City Super)

    peter

  26. kaoko says:

    @TheBachelorGirl
    I do hope you get to try it. It’s sooooo good. All the other Royce fans will agree that I’m not exaggerating. <3

    @GUS
    I think the potato chips depend on a person’s taste. Personally, it’s not something I’ll crave for because I’m a purist when it comes to potato chips but I do understand the draw it has for chocolate lovers.

    Nama though, I think is universal, heehee.

  27. WhiteChoco says:

    Aside from SG and soon to be in Manila, you can also find it in Bangkok, Thailand at the Siam Paragon Mall. The Royce stall is located at the ground floor at the foodcourt area near the grocery check out counters.

  28. Crissy says:

    I blame Royce’s Chocolate Covered Potato Chips as one of the main reasons why I gained weight hahaha :p

    If Royce is unavailable in Konbini try Heavenly Chocolates in Roces Avenue in QC (near corner Tomas Morato). They have Sachi Nama Chocolates for 500 (not sure if they still sell it at 350 – their introductory price) and it’s comparable to Royce :)

  29. kaoko says:

    Thanks for the heads-up Crissy! I’d love to try that Nama Choco but QC is too far for me. :( I’m crossing my fingers that the local Royce store in Rockwell opens soon. I hear they’re opening first week of December—I hope it’s true!

  30. Noogy says:

    Royce is overrated… it is toooooo sweet to be made of true chocolate. It’s a novelty. It uses too much milk chocolate, which authentic chocolate critiques would readily say should be outlawed! For that price, I would rather try Joseph Schmidt or Rechuitti, which even Europeans in San Francisco, CA were lining up for!

    • kaoko says:

      I wouldn’t say it’s overrated. I’d call it a matter of choice. Some people gravitate towards creamy chocolates more than the bitter kind so it’s a matter of personal taste.

  31. jhe says:

    if anyone’s from alabang/south area, i can get royce choco for you guys…with a discount? let’s see… =)

  32. jhe says:

    if anyone’s from alabang/south are (ghills/mkti is quite far), i can get royce choco for you guys…with a discount? let’s see… =) please drop me a note at jherocel@hotmail.com.

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  34. frost says:

    Oh yes, I just LOVE nama chocolate : 3 Just mentioning, nama chocolate has fresh cream added into it. (which is why you feel that it is rly creamy and smooth).
    Oh just to share a recipe of nama chocolate which I got from http://www.choco-recipe.jp/milk/rcp/021.html (Japanese Only). For the benefit for those who cannot enjoy nama chocolate in their country~~ : D

    Ingredients:
    195g milk chocolate
    100mL fresh cream
    1 tablespoon honey
    enough cocoa powder to coat the chocolates later

    Instructions

    1) Chop the chocolate finely
    2) In another pot, place the cream and honey inside and turn off the flame the moment it boils.
    3) Place the chopped chocolate into the mixture
    4) Lay baking paper on a tray (covering the sides too), then pour the mixture into it.
    5) Then place it in the fridge for about 2 hours
    6) Removing the hardened chocolate from the baking paper, chop them into cubes
    7) Coat them with the cocoa powder.

    *Note: tray can be of any size, but all of the chocolate mixture must cover the base of the tray

    • kaoko says:

      OH! I LOVE YOU FROST! It never occurred to me that Nama Chocolate can be made at home. But you have opened my eyes. I can’t wait to try it myself. When I do, I’m definitely dedicating that post to you <3

  35. Jo says:

    I love Royce’s Nama chocolate! The bitter fine cocoa powder coating and the cool melt-in-your-mouth goodness of the chocolate is really something special. It’s so concentrated that one or two pieces is more than enough to satisfy in one sitting.

    It’s a bit expensive but makes a very presentable gift for your special someone for special occasions, and will surely be appreciated.

    From experience, it’s best enjoyed with friends and loved ones because if there are any leftovers and you refrigerate it, the chocolate becomes a bit hard and it takes much longer to melt next time. The upside is the chocolate lasts longer in your mouth. The downside, it doesn’t taste as rich. Still very good though :)

  36. maAkusutipen says:

    Hello… do you perchance know any resource that can say how many calories Royce chocolates products have…

    I am not that good with Japanese yet and I think kanji is still used and I need to tinker with the site. hehehe

    Thanks in advance.

    • kaoko says:

      Sorry, but I don’t know as well. :( I’m not even sure if it’s required by law to provide nutrifacts in Japan.

      • maAkusutipen says:

        Oh ok. But I guess there is a resource somewhere. Maybe not in the packaging. However, I have an impression that most Japanese are health nuts so there might be someone who got it… hehehe..

        Yeah that is a nice thing to consider. I will go ask my Japanese prof if nutri facts are required by law.

        Oh more power to your blog… I always read this… hehehe I just don’t comment much

      • kaoko says:

        Thanks very much! I’m glad to know you visit regularly. I’m really sorry I couldn’t be of much help but I’m sure your Japanese professor will know more. :)

        I just remembered I still have a box of Nama chocolate in the fridge at home though, so I might as well double check. If I find something resembling nutrifacts, I’ll try to scan it so we can post it up for someone to translate.

  37. kira says:

    Royce is now available in Greenbelt 3 and Trinoma :)

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