It’s that time of the year again, it’s dark by four, salt is being poured onto pavements, old people are freezing to death and I’m eating enough Toblerones that, if I were so inclined, I could use the girder-like structure of the chocolate to build a small orphanage.
Toblerone was created (or discovered, if you believe in a loving God) by Theodor Tobler in 1908 Switzerland. According to Wikipedia (must be true) the distinctive triangular shape of the chocolate was not in fact inspired by the Alps, but rather a bunch of sexy dancers building a pyramid shape of themselves at the Folies Bergere (French music hall) which Tobler once saw. This makes sense when you consider the Alps aren’t actually all lined up in a perfectly regimented row (more’s the pity; if nature had a clear system of control, I could sleep soundly at night. Instead I’m kept awake by the floating spectres of the Animals of Farthing Wood chanting “chaos reigns” over and over again).
There are many possible reasons why Toblerones fill my bookshelves near Christmas time. Could it be the result of a fierce marketing campaign? Brand loyalty? The feeling that I deserve something a little more decadent than supermarket home brands during the Holiday season? To be honest, it’s just tradition, which is a terrible trap for anyone who collects cigarette packets and places stationery in order of size.
This year, Toblerone’s Christmas box is appropriately understated, evoking a kind of ye olde nostalgic feeling as I shove chocolate bricks into my gob. The milk chocolate is, of course, the best of the lot, and the 400g bar is the only one worth having (unless you’ve made a deal with Lucifer for the 4.5kg monster, and then you have the problem of justifying spending £80 on a chocolate bar, to yourself, to your family, and to every children’s charity on the planet). Anything smaller than 400g is a fucking waste of money. Don’t do it. My good will for the company is extinguished whenever a terrible friend offers those shitty little bite sized bars.
Actually eating a Toblerone triangle is, of course, a dance with death. Your best bet is to break off a piece and nibble on it gingerly, savouring the delicious combination of almonds, honey and nougat (be sure to emphasise the ‘t’ in nougat when conversing with society’s higher classes). Do NOT attack the bar ferociously as one might a Snickers or a Caramac, the Toblerone will tear through your fucking skull like a morning star. Don’t attempt to eat a 400g bar in one sitting either, the beauty of Toblerone is that you can keep it in a drawer (you can call it the ‘drawer of shame’) and turn to it whenever your hatred of Christmas becomes overpowering.
Above all, indulge in your Toblerone experience. This is rich people food, at a price you can afford (just for Christmas) so you have to make the most of it. Wear a dinner jacket while you eat, with a snifter of brandy and a Davidoff cigarette, project an air of apathy and quiet discontent and make passing references to the Queen. It’s Christmas damn it, you deserve nice things.