Toblerone: What Fans Don't Know About The Popular Chocolate Company

As far as chocolate bars, few are as old (or as distinctively shaped) as Switzerland's most iconic candy export, Toblerone. The world's first triangular chocolate bar was invented in 1908 by a chocolatier named Theodore Tobler and his cousin, Emil Baumann, after Tobler inherited his family's chocolate shop in 1900. To make their creation, Tobler and Baumann mixed nougat, honey, and almonds with chocolate, shaped it into a triangle, then made up a name that married Tobler's last name with "torrone," a type of Italian nougat made with honey and almonds.

Toblerone's original packaging doesn't look too different from the box which it comes in today, which calls the chocolate bar, "The First Patented Swiss Milk Chocolate." As it claims, Toblerone is the first chocolate bar to be protected by intellectual property laws as Tobler had successfully applied for a patent to protect the way the unique candy is made.

Toblerone's package reveals the candy's origins

Toblerone's packaging holds clues that reveal where the candy is from. While it's no secret that the chocolate bar is Swiss, the triangle featured on the box is actually the Matterhorn, one of the most famous mountains in the Alps, and a stone's throw away from Bern, where original Swiss Toblerones have been made for more than a hundred years. 

Also, if you look closely at the Matterhorn on the Toblerone box, you might discover that what looks like a shadow or a patch of snow at first glance is actually the shape of a bear, and is a symbol of Toblerone's home town. A bear can also be found in Bern's coat of arms. Given all the symbolism, we understand why Toblerone went through so much trouble to create its iconic logo and have it occupy a place of honor on the box.

The reason why Toblerone is triangular is not as simple as you think.

Many people believe that the reason why Toblerone segments are triangular is because the bar is inspired by the Swiss mountain range. But the chocolate candy is actually shaped to resemble the pyramids that the dancers at Folies Bergères, a famous and historic Parisian dance hall, form at the end of their show. We have to admit that the triangles also make it relatively easy to break a piece off a piece of Toblerone. 

But here's a vital tip you'll need the next time you enjoy this candy bar: instead of breaking off a piece by pushing it outwards, or away from the bar, we're actually meant to break a piece by pushing it inwards, or toward the bar... and yes, you're not alone. We just found out we've been doing it wrong all this time too.

How Toblerone became the center of controversy

If you want to pick a fight with your customers, you would do something like mess with the shape of an icon. That's exactly what Toblerone's UK makers did back in late 2016, when they decided to make the gaps between the pyramids bigger. The move was meant to cut the bars' weight from 400g and 170g to 360g and 150g respectively. The change meant that the gaps would be bigger and the triangles thinner. The bar's British maker, Mondelēz International, said design adjustment was made after the price of raw materials increased. But Mondelēz was forced to backtrack and restore the candy to its original shape after heavy backlash from Toblerone's devoted fans..

The iconic candy comes in 10 different sizes (which range from fun size to life-size, or about a meter tall) as well as in a variety of weights. If you're a fan of Toblerone but also want a bit of variety, the iconic Swiss chocolate bar also comes in about 11 different flavors. 

Toblerone has been around for over 100 years

Only the best candy bars stand the test of time and, to that end, it's no surprise that Toblerone has been around for over a century. Jean Tobler opened his first Swiss chocolate factory, Fabrique de Chocolat Berne, in 1899. When Tobler's son, Theodor, and his nephew, Emil Baumann, hit upon a recipe for white nougat in 1908, they knew that adding it to one of their chocolate bars would be a hit. When naming the candy bar, they combined part of the family name with the Italian word for almond honey nougat, so that Tobler and torrone became Toblerone.

Toblerone celebrated its 100th birthday back in 2008 with a Toblerone Chocolate Festival that was held in the city of Bern, Switzerland. For starters, the company made a giant 220-pound Toblerone bar to mark the occasion. 15,000 fans enjoyed this and other festivities that included fun games and art activities for kids, live music from Swiss musician Marc Sway, and, of course, plenty of chocolate. Inventive chefs working there also added Toblerone to everything from salads and garlic foams to polenta.

Toblerone had to make a big packaging change

For the vast majority of Toblerone's history, every chocolate bar it made came directly from Switzerland. However, in 2023, a factory in Bratislava, Slovakia started producing Toblerone as well, spelling some legal troubles for the company.

A representative told CNN that Swiss laws dictated that the company make changes to the packaging as a result of the new facility. They are no longer allowed to say that Toblerone is a product of Switzerland but that it was simply established in that country. However, this isn't the only change Swiss law will bring to the candy bar's packaging. Switzerland's 2017 Swissness Act also requires them to remove any Swiss imagery from their packaging. Unfortunately, this regulation means the image of the Matterhorn mountain must go. Going forward, Toblerone will feature a new logo and font on the packaging, including the addition of Toblerone's co-found Theodor Tobler's signature.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was filmed inside a Toblerone factory

If you've watched "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," then you've already seen the inside of the Swiss chocolate factory that makes Toblerone bars. Just to be clear, that's the 1971 movie adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," featuring Gene Wilder rather than Johnny Depp.

That's because the Toblerone Chocolate Factory in Bern, Switzerland was one of the filming locations for the movie. All the chocolate-making images from the opening credits, with machines covering candy bars in chocolate and toppings, ribbons of soft chocolate, chocolate kiss machines, and conveyor-belt bonbons on their chocolate factory journey, come from the factory. It's enough to make you wish you could win a Golden Ticket to visit there like a real-life Charlie Bucket. Unfortunately, the factory doesn't offer tours because of strict health regulations, so you'd need to get a job as a Swiss chocolate maker to visit.

The candy bar inspired a Toblerone cocktail

Whoever dreamed up the Toblerone cocktail was a genius. Chocolate and alcohol are always winning combinations, but when you manage to combine the flavors of your favorite chocolate bar with a good liqueur, it's a next-level experience. The drink feels like a small world tour, as it contains Mexican Kahlúa, Italian Frangelico, Bailey's Irish Cream, and, of course, Swiss Toblerone.

To make it yourself, start by wetting the rim of your glass with chocolate syrup, then coat the rim with crushed pieces of Toblerone. Then, you'll shake ice together with one part honey syrup, two parts cream, 1.5 parts Bailey's Irish Cream, 1.5 parts Frangelico, and 1.5 parts Kahlúa. Next, strain it into your glass. 

Since it's nearly impossible to have too much chocolate, you can also garnish the drink with extra Toblerone crumbles or shavings. Why not add some chocolate syrup as well, while you're at it?

A Swedish politician lost her job because of Toblerone

Being a politician has its perks, but it also comes with serious limits. For example, you can't use your official credit card to buy Toblerone candy bars. Somehow, Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Mona Sahlin missed that lesson in prime minister school and bought Toblerone bars in 1995 on her official government credit card, along with diapers and thousands of dollars of other personal purchases. Once she was caught, Sahlin paid the money back (and then some). However, she still lost her job and was barred from public office for the next three years.

Sahlin's credit card debacle has become known in Sweden and elsewhere as the Toblerone Affair. The New York Times quotes Sahlin as telling a Stockholm newspaper that she was immensely sorry about the debacle and could "hardly talk about it without crying." Not too many of us have ever cried after we gave in to our chocolate cravings, but this may have been just such an occasion.

Many people associate Toblerone with air travel

Many of us have airport rituals, among which are purchases we may not make every day, like a whole newspaper or a random book. Or perhaps we day drink since there's no chance the pilot will let us fly the plane. For many of us, that can also include savoring a Toblerone chocolate bar.

While the statistics aren't clear, we do know that buying Toblerone bars in airports is a pretty common phenomenon. This habit came about for some because Toblerone wasn't a treat they often saw outside airports. U.S. grocery stores and drug stores tend to sell plenty of chocolate bars from U.S. companies like Hershey's and Mars, so it stands that some people never encounter the Swiss-based Toblerone outside of specialized candy shops or at the airport. If it's a rare sight, then the long pyramid box likely calls your name every time you see it before your flight and you may make it a situation-specific treat.

Of course, buying the chocolate bar in a duty-free airport shop can make it much cheaper than in other places. Cheaper chocolate is always a draw, especially when it's as good as Toblerone.

Europe's far-right once boycotted Toblerone

Food companies are in the habit of labeling products to appeal to consumers with various dietary restrictions, with labels telling us that something is vegan, gluten-free, or kosher. That way, people know whether or not they can eat it without having to do a deep label read. However, it turns out that some of Toblerone's labeling was too "woke" for members of Europe's far right.

In 2018, Toblerone sought and received halal certification, which assured Muslim consumers that the beloved candy bar met religious dietary restrictions. Nothing changed about the candy bar's content.

In response to Toblerone's halal certification, well-known German political spokesperson Joerg Meuthen accused the company of encouraging Europe's "Islamization" via the halal certification, as per Global News. As a result, many followers of far-right ideologies suggested a Toblerone boycott, fueling the #BoycottToblerone hashtag. However, it's clear that the company is still in business.

It may be possible to find a Toblerone McFlurry in some countries

The McDonald's McFlurry can come in a variety of flavors. In the U.S., Oreo and M&M's McFlurries are common, while we also get to enjoy fun seasonal flavors like the Oreo Shamrock McFlurry around holidays. However, other countries have their own unique McFlurry varieties on the menu, like Australia's Cadbury Creme Egg McFlurryor the chocolate lime McFlurry served up in South Africa. One McFlurry flavor we haven't yet seen in the U.S. is a Toblerone McFlurry, but these beasts do exist.

Unsurprisingly, the Toblerone McFlurry is served up in Switzerland. You can also occasionally find the treats in nearby Sweden and Denmark as well as across the Atlantic Ocean in Panama and Costa Rica. A producer from Insider tasted one when he was in Switzerland and said it was "rich and creamy and sweet" but mainly tasted "like a chocolate milkshake."

Toblerone tried to sue a UK company

Imitation may be a form of flattery, but it didn't work on Toblerone when a UK company appeared to copy its candy bar. You really can't complain when someone produces a candy with a plain rectangular box or bar, but when someone tries to copy your unique mountain-peaks-and-valleys shape, then we think you're allowed to be a little annoyed.

When Poundlane created a Toblerone-shaped chocolate bar called Twin Peaks, Toblerone's parent company, Mondelēz, took legal action to prevent the competitor's candy bar from making it to market. Rather than the bar looking like a long mountain range of consecutive single peaks, the Twin Peaks bars looked like a mountain range with consecutive double peaks.

The two companies ultimately reached an agreement that allowed Poundlane to go ahead and sell the 500,000 Twin Peak bars it had already produced in 2017. However, Mondelēz forbade Poundlane from using packaging that looked anything like Toblerone's. Moreover, any candy bars Poundlane afterward needed a new non-Toblerone-like design.

You can use Toblerone to make hot chocolate

If you've never made hot chocolate by melting your favorite chocolate candy bar, then you're missing a real treat. TikTok user @foodbyremi introduced us to the idea of making a two-ingredient Toblerone hot chocolate drink that is absolutely phenomenal.

To make the drink, she simply broke off a couple of pieces of Toblerone, placed them in hot milk, and stirred until the chocolate integrated with the milk. If you want to make things more complicated, she went three steps further and added a little more pizzaz by topping the hot chocolate with vanilla ice cream, mini marshmallows, and chocolate syrup.

If the chocolate doesn't seem to melt for you right away, you can always place your mug of chocolate and milk in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it up. Start with 30 seconds, adding more time in short amounts if the candy bar isn't melting into the hot chocolate as well as you'd like. You can also melt your chocolate first, either using the microwave or stovetop, before adding the milk.

One artist used 1500 Toblerones to create a royal portrait

Food artist Michelle Wibowo is known for creating edible pieces of artwork on a grand scale. To mark the 450th anniversary of Michelangelo's death in 2014, she used marshmallows and sprinkles to recreate the famous image from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel of Adam and God reaching out to each other. A year later, she decided to use pieces of Toblerone chocolate for another piece of art.

Wibowo set out to make a chocolate version of a photo taken when British royalty figures Prince William and then-baby Prince George visited the Sydney Zoo. She accomplished subtleties in shading by using milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate Toblerone bars. In total, Wibowo put in 100 hours and used 1,500 Toblerones to complete the image. It took 16,075 Toblerone triangles to make the 12 by 8-foot, 339-pound image. As "The Creation of Adam" piece had been commemorative, so was the image of the two Princes, given that it marked Prince William's first Father's Day. Wibowo told the Daily Mail that "the hardest process was trying not to eat the Toblerone along the way."