The sudden turn-up was a good enough Christmas gift for us her friends from college who were still here in the Philippines (she was with our other friends now living in the West Coast just a week ago), but she made the meet sweeter with a bag containing Nama chocolates in champagne and mild cacao flavors, hand-carried from HongKong. She professed she could finish an entire box of the chocolates in one day, and was happy to share the passion with her friends.
The chocolates came in layers of wraps. Inside a plastic bag is a kind of reflective insulation polyethylene foam encasing boxes in gift-wrappers, with a couple of cold gel packs to keep them cool. Tearing away the wrapper we came upon thin boxes decorated in the same design as the wrappers'.
Inside the box is a brochure from the Nama chocolate company with a breath-taking photo (which I've tried to recapture in the topmost photo, in vain) of the various Royce flavors, helping build up anticipation for the chocolates, which are ensconced in a sealed plastic tray. There is a dessicant, and a plastic pick with which to eat the chocolates.
The chocolates are melt-in-your-mouth buttery-velvet rectangles covered in fine cocoa powder. I can understand how one box can be easily consumed in a day, in one sitting even. They are addictive. A taste of cloud 9. Like the suiboku-ga, the Japanese monochromatic renderings of nature, inviting contemplation and meditation, Royce's refined pureness almost brings one to a highly-achieved meditative state, verging on spiritual enlightenment. It deserves to be the sweet partaken of after imbibing the bitter and thick green tea during chano-yu, the highly ritualistic Japanese tea ceremony. I felt like I was trespassing, not worthy of experiencing something beautiful. Transluscent. Ethereal. Eternal.
The chocolates are very fragile and so delicate, and would readily crumble in your hand. They need to be in a constant, low temperature, the reason for the two packets of cold gel included in the pack. They originated in the upper latitudes of Japan, after all. The effect of the Philippines' tropical climate can be seen in the already sweating pieces of chocolate in the first photo.
Japanese culture is embodied in the Royce chocolates - delicate and fine, nothing left to chance. Wrapped by layers, but when naked, reveals pureness of utmost simplicity.
Now available at these Makati malls
Rockwell Power Plant
The Filipino Tsokolate