The Chocolate Craze in Manila


After the cupcake and frozen yogurt craze, Manila is wild about chocolates once again. πŸ™‚ Check out these 8 chocolate finds leading the choco craze this Christmas season…

1. Royce’ Nama Chocolates (P580)

Royce’ has a cult following in Manila and is the favorite chocolate pasalubong from Singapore, Hongkong and Japan. But you don’t have to travel far for it anymore. Finally, Royce’ opened its flagship store in Manila last Dec. 6 at the 3rd floor of the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell.

Nama chocolates are velvety smooth — each piece literally melts in your mouth. Five (5) regular flavors are currently available: Au Lait (pronounced as “olay”), White, Champagne, Mild Cacao and Bitter. I usually avoid the chocolates with alcohol like Champagne and Au Lait because Rache is still nursing Syoti Joshua. I love the Mild Cacao. What’s your favorite?

The Manila store carries almost the complete line in Singapore, which include: Pure Chocolate, Nutty Bar Chocolate, Potechi Chocolate, Baton Cookies, Chocolate Wares, Bar Chocolate, Potato Chip Chocolate, Orange/Kirsh/Praline Truffe, Kurumaro Chocolate, Macadamia Chocolate, Criollio Chocolate, Coffee Bean Chocolate, Karintosh Chocolate, Prafeuille Chocolate and Marshmallow Chocolate. Filipinos particularly love the Potato Chip Chocolate (P540, and P990 Large), which you can eat while watching a movie at Rockwell.

If you’d like an alternative to Royce’ Nama chocolates, try Sachi Nama Chocolates (a different Japanese brand), which are sold in Heavenly Chocolates for only P350.

2. Chocolate-covered Espresso Beans by Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (P275)

These are sold out almost every time we go to Coffee Bean in Boni High Street. Finally, they decided to sell these coffee beans covered with chocolate. It is a good alternative to having actual coffee and chocolate separately. These chocolates are used as the main ingredient for the Ultimate Mocha or Vanilla drink in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

The bitterness of the coffee is neutralized by the sweetness of the chocolate. It is like eating coffee in a capsule. I heard they are only selling these chocolates this Christmas season. Royce’ also sells Coffee Bean Chocolates for P690.

3. Ecuador Chocolates by Heavenly Chocolates (P175)

These Heavenly Chocolate beans are used to create your own hot chocolate at home. We love the Ecuador chocolates, which are characterized by “strong and intense, full-bodied, bitter, hint of smoky notes” (see our Heavenly Chocolates experience). Heavenly Chocolates is also educating Filipinos on the different chocolate flavors based on the origin of the beans. This is similar to appreciating wines based on their terroir.

Flavor Guide to Cacao Origins
ECUADOR – Strong and intense, full-bodied, bitter, with a hint of smoky notes. For true-blue chocoholics
GHANA – Smooth, rounded, uncomplicated. Well-received in Japan and Korea, and by children too
IVORY COAST – Rich cocoa with a nutty flavor. Provides more than a third of world’s cocoa bean supply
MADAGASCAR – Unique and exotic, with distinct fruity notes of raisins. Available on a seasonal basis
PERU – Mild cocoa, has delicate floral notes with a background of dry flowers. Currently in limited supply worldwide

4. Chocolate-coated Cashew Nuts by KJV Homemade Goodies (P100)

Palawan is famous for its cashew nuts pasalubong, which comes in yummy varieties — roasted, fried, brittle and now covered in chocolate. We found these chocolate-covered cashews while we were shopping in tiangge-tiangge in Puerto Princesa in Palawan. The chocolate used is similar to Curly Tops, which is a Filipino favorite. It is sold in a snack-size foil pack by KJV Homemade Goodies. (I’m not sure if there are other brands available in Palawan.)

5. Risa Fine Bespoke Chocolate Truffles (P550)

Chocoholics will fall in love with Pam’s hand-rolled truffle chocolates. We love to give these as gifts for special people and we can give it as is because of the nice packaging. They are packed in 12’s, but I would suggest that you request to have it packed into 20 small ones. Each piece is rich in taste, soft like a marshmallow and melts in your mouth like nama chocolates. (Who is Risa?)

They also sell Rockafella, which are crunchy liqueur-tinged almond slivers covered in chocolate with sunny citrus bits on top. It is either you love it or you hate it. I am in the latter camp, but it is worth a try. I am proud to say that Pam is a cousin-in-law and she is an up-and-coming chocolatier in Manila.

6. Chocovron (P84 for a pack of 12)

Chocovron is a simple innovation of coating the Filipino’s favorite polvoron in white or dark chocolate. We love the cookies and cream-flavored polvoron. You can have a choice of coating it in chocolate, milk chocolate, or 2-in-1 (half choco, half milk). This is seriously addicting and the makers have perfected the combination of the flavors. It comes in individual blue packs and you can order it in a box this Christmas season.

They are doing their rounds in the different bazaars in Manila and you can check out their official Chocovron website.

7. Vosges Haut Chocolat

Vosges Exotic Chocolates by Chicago-based chocolatier Katrina Markoff are the favorite chocolate pasalubong from the US. She is personally involved in picking the finest ingredients all over the world for her luxurious treats — and her dedication pays off very well.

Check out these flavors:
Woolloomooloo Bar: roasted & salted macademia nuts, Indonesian coconut, hemp seeds, deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao
Creole Bar: New Orleans-style chicory coffee, Sao Tome bittersweet chocolate, cocoa nibs, 70% cacao
Black Pearl Bar: wasabi, ginger, black sesame seeds, dark chocolate, 55% cacao
Naga Bar: sweet Indian curry powder, coconut flakes, deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao
Macha Bar: Japanese macha green tea, deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao
Gianduja Bar: almonds, caramelized hazelnuts, deep milk chocolate
Barcelona Bar: hickory-smoked almonds, grey sea salt, deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao
Oaxaca Bar: guagillo and pasilla chillies, Tanzanian bittersweet chocolate, 75% cacao
Red Fire Bar: Mexican ancho & chipotle chillies, Ceylon cinnamon, dark chocolate, 55% cacao
Mo’s Bacon bar: applewood-smoked bacon, Alder wood smoked salt, deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao

Our couple favorite is Mo’s Bacon Bar. Rache likes the Black Pearl Bar, while I like the strong Oaxaca Bar and the Red Fire Bar.

It comes with a suggestion on how to enjoy an exotic candy bar (and I quote):

Find a quiet space. Close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths.

There should be a glossy shine to the chocolate bar, this shows a good temper; rather, a tight bond between the cocoa butter and the cocoa mass.

Rub your thumb on the chocolate to help release the aromas. Inhale the chocolate, fruit, herb, or spice notes deeply through your nose. What do you smell?

Chocolate should always be dry to the touch. Break the bar into two pieces. Hear a crisp, ringing pop which indicates a well-tempered bar of chocolate. You will hear the loudest snap with dark chocolate, a soft break with milk, and a faint whisper with white (gianduja is the exception and is a bit moist).

Take a small piece of chocolate, break it into pieces in your mouth and press it to your palate. Within thirty seconds, the chocolate will slowly begin to melt around your tongue. The taste should not be evanescent, it should have a long permeating finish.

Take a deep breath and notice the lingerings of flavor and sensation.

Good ideas, don’t you think?

8. Chocolate Fire Manila

“Welcome to the world of Chocolate Fire; the ultimate gourmet sensation as never seen before. At Chocolate Fire we allow the finest couverture Belgian chocolate to blaze in new smooth delectable pleasures.” Chocolate Fire Website

I am super curious about Chocolate Fire. Can you share some information about these chocolates?

Live an Awesome Life in God’s Grace,


Text by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2008.

Mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627)

P.S. What’s your Favorite Chocolate Find in Manila?

20 thoughts on “The Chocolate Craze in Manila

  1. Nama bitter is my favorite Royce’ variety with champagne coming in a close second. Just for added info, Royce’ is also available at Konbini’s in Greenhills. However, the price is a bit higher than the Rockwell store.
    I have been hoarding the chocolate covered espresso beans:). I used to taste this only from Royce’ and Chocolate Kingdom in KL.. so glad CBTL decided to sell these locally. Hopefully, they sell them all throughout the year coz at the rate my going, my stash will run out by january…

  2. hmmm no trufettes (SM MOA)?? i somehow think trufettes taste a lot like royce’… then again that’s just me.. and it comes cheap too, it’s only PHP 200! :)packaging pa lang sulit na hehehe

  3. You need to add Chocolates by Benoit, it’s a locally produced chocolate line by Benoit, he’s belgian, married to a filipina. He sometimes sells at bazaars. His truffles are very good, way better than those you find in mall based Leonidas, reasonably priced too. I’ll try to find his contact number and send it to you.

  4. i have to agree! the no. 1 slot is meant for royce! i tried it earlier this year when my firned gave a one box as pasalubong from his asian tour.. and omg! it was heavenly! ever since, my cravings for it didnt stop. i always ask my friend who always travel to buy me a box on their way home.. then to my suprise, royce has already opened their first store in powerplant. the thing is, its a little pricey. its only 300 plus pesos abroad. oh well. πŸ™‚

  5. I love the chocolates by Benoit. Tried them some time ago at Enterprise Tower in Makati.
    Chocolates from Heavenly Chocolates are very good! I honestly cant taste the difference between Sachi and Royce Nama.

  6. I’m so happy we are getting more chocolate choices in Manila! Where did you find Vosges here??? I feel a silly affinity to that brand, because a) like me, they’re attracted to unusual flavors; b) their brand color is purple; and c) the chocolatier’s my namesake! πŸ™‚
    Watch out for Machiavelli chocolates, coming next year. I don’t want to preempt, but I’ve tried it and the flavors are verrry interesting!

  7. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Vosges Haut Chocolat made it to your list! My friend mentioned it to me when we were in London last month, as Nigella Lawson told Rachael Ray that Vosges’ Choco Bacon Bar was her fave candy in the world. As luck would have it, Vosges opened it first shop inside Selfridges’ Food Hall on Oxford St a few days before our visit, and that’s where I fell in love at first bite with Mo’s Bacon Bar. I actually met the founder Katrina Markoff at Selfridges while she was talking about her products. Needless to say, her bacon bar sold out there as it does in the US! As you can tell from her product lines, her chocolates are not for everyone. I’ve always liked the mixture of sweet and salty flavors so I naturally loved the bacon bar. My friends who tried the white chocolate with kalamata olives say that that’s also a good one to try. Meanwhile, I’m trying to get someone to get me the dark chocolate with mushrooms…and I wouldn’t mind another bacon bar. πŸ˜‰

  8. Wow! This is SO exciting! Thanks for including Risa Chocolates in your list, Anton! Here’s looking forward to a permanent and successful chocolatiers from the Philippines! Let’s put back the Philippines in the Global Chocolate Map!

  9. I have learned that Machiavelli Chocolatiers is opening a flagship store in Makati. You guys are so lucky to have it. I have tasted the different flavors when I was in New York City and all I can say that it is very heavenly. The flavors are very unique and the sweetness is just right. I’m a chocoholic and I would say that Machiavelli chocolates is the best I’ve tasted so far. I would definitely visit their store when I visit the Philippines.

  10. Yes I really enjoy Truffettes which is found in Glorietta 4 and Shangri-la Plaza. Great value for money! I also loved the Benoit chocolates which I got as a gift: Chocolatier
    Benoit Nicolay mobile +63 928 321 3381

  11. From what I know, Chocolate Fire is owned by an Australian family who owns a Chocolate Fire Cafe in Melbourne. I’ve met the owner, and she said they are planning to open their chocolaterie in the Makati area.

  12. Maganda din ang Chuco Art! They create unique chocolate pieces. Super cute ng Chuco Portraits nila. I wonder kung sino si Ms. Chuco Art. Galing nya e.

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