I have always associated Toblerone with airports and flight. Returns and departures. Journeys. I must have been about seven or eight when I tasted my first Toblerone, the white one.
One of my aunts’ must have just jetted back in from the US or wherever it is those kinds of people go – smooth-skinned, beautiful and moneyed, the ones who smell exquisitely of designer fragrance, the ones who talk with a patois, a twang that betrays their absence.
It was always aunts. Men never went anywhere, or if they did, brought no evidence of their sojourns. It is not just Toblerone that holds these connotations for me. The bite-sized Snickers, Mars, and Twix do too.
I love chocolate but I especially I loved the Toblerone. In my mind, it was better than Cadbury’s Dairy Milk because you could not buy it in Kenya. When I grew much older, I was surprised to see it in supermarkets. If that’s not a sign of economic development, a surfeit of confections, then what is?
I ate a piece recently, and there was no rush of nostalgia, no upswell of emotion. It was ordinary. Delicious, yes, but unremarkable.
These simple one-bite candies are sold cheaply at duty-free shops at most airports and are a no-brain way to share the bounties collected outside the country’s borders with kin. I am back and here are the gifts I have for you.
I have always been fascinated by why a person would feel owed something by a relative flying in from another country. And why should someone feel obligated to bring anything for those who remained? One would not be less of a person if they came back empty-handed or remained empty-handed. Their presence should be enough. Isn’t the meaning of home a place of minimal expectations?