A Swiss Miss: Toblerone Chocolate Not Swiss Enough to Sport the Matterhorn

Some things are just inherently Swiss: Oddly useful knives. Accurate timekeeping. Banks that enable wealthy tax dodgers.

Something that no longer fits that description? Toblerone chocolate.

The Illinois-based company that manufactures Toblerone will no longer feature the Matterhorn on its packaging. The company, Modelez International, will also remove the Swiss flag from the candy bar’s wrapping.

The change comes at the behest of Switzerland’s Swissness Enforcement Association, a group that, well, enforces Swissness on behalf of the government.

Switzerland passed a law in 2017 aimed at protecting the uniquely Swiss identity of certain products. For food, the law stipulates that four-fifths of the raw materials that make up a product must come from Switzerland. On top of that, the process that gives a product its unique Swiss identity must occur in Switzerland, according to The Associated Press.

The rules around chocolate are even more specific. While there’s an exception for cocoa, which doesn’t grow in Switzerland, “we think [milk] is really the most important part of the chocolate. It has to be 100 percent from Switzerland,” David Starkle, director of Swissness Enforcement, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview.

an image of toblerone chocolate packages stacked on top of one another

The Matterhorn image on these packages will be replaced by a “modernized and streamlined mountain logo that is consistent with the geometric and triangular aesthetic.” Photo: Shutterstock


Modelez ran afoul of the law in June of last year after announcing that it was moving elements of its production operation out of Switzerland and into Bratislava, Slovakia. Starkle and company weren’t having that, so Modelez began taking steps to change Toblerone’s packaging.

The Matterhorn had to go. But is there a similarly iconic Slovakian mountain ready to fill the gap? If there is, Modelez isn’t going to use it.

“The redesign of the packaging introduces a modernized and streamlined mountain logo that is consistent with the geometric and triangular aesthetic,” Mondelez spokesperson Livia Kolmitz told the AP in an email.

So the next time you climb a “triangular” mountain, recall the story of Toblerone: a chocolate bar whose once iconic Swiss identity is now — like a certain cheese — full of holes.

Andrew Marshall

Andrew Marshall is an award-winning painter, photographer, and freelance writer. Andrew’s essays, illustrations, photographs, and poems can be found scattered across the web and in a variety of extremely low-paying literary journals.
You can find more of his work at www.andrewmarshallimages.com, @andrewmarshallimages on Instagram and Facebook, and @pawn_andrew on Twitter (for as long as that lasts).