What is Tony’s Chocolonely?
At its most simple its a really great chocolate bar that comes in a huge range of both regular and crazy flavours (including cherry meringue, orange rosemary, popcorn discodip, white raspberry popping candy, dark milk pretzel toffee and dark pecan coconut to say nothing of their special editions!).
The packaging is eye-boggling; the shapes of “chunk” that you break off are completely unique and it probably has the best name ever.
But there’s SO much more to this fantastic Dutch brand.
If you want to see the full story watch this but basically an investigative reporter called Teun or Tony, was so horrified about the way that chocolate the world over was being produced on cocoa plantations that depended on child slavery (despite the fact that the world’s biggest chocolate companies had signed international treaties against the practice) that he ended up trying to turn himself into a ‘cocoa criminal’. This meant appearing on TV and gorging on chocolate in an attempt to get himself arrested for eating something that had been knowingly produced via illegal means.
Only the Dutch.
Not content with this stunt, he contacted various chocolate multinationals and asked them to create a slave-free chocolate bar for him. They all ignored him. Including Nestlé. So on November 29th 2005 Teun introduced the world’s only slave-free chocolate bar.
And the rest as they say is history.
This epic mission now powers their brand and their current aim is to get all companies globally producing 100% slave-free chocolate.
We have been following the Tony’s story since their inception and this blog post has grown with them – what started out as a story about a small but amazing Dutch brand now charts the rise of a global sensation.
You can find Tony’s Chocolonely on sale all over the city. Stores such as Marqt and even ubiquitous supermarket Albert Heijn stock the standard flavours but those are available everywhere now from Sainsbury’s to Whole Foods so I suspect if you’re reading this you’re after something a little more exciting.
Well you’re in luck.
Tony’s have two eponymous stores in Amsterdam as well as a crazy new “Chocolate Bar” (more about that later) and plans for a Willy Wonka style factory/theme park north of the river at some point in future.
And it’s all done in a very Tony’s way.
The original shop is underneath their offices in the fabulous Westergas complex at the Westerpark. Fans used to drop by the office to talk to them about their mission – and to try to secure chocolate tastings, so they branched out into their own retail space. It’s staffed on rotation by people who work in the main business, giving them direct exposure to their customers (big tick!). They can tell you about the bigger mission and of course there’s loads of chocolate to buy and taste and some cool merchandise to buy.
The store is closed at lunchtimes and weekends
… and when they are on a skiing holiday in April.
Next they opened a ‘Super Store” in the Beurs van Berlage. It’s closer to Amsterdam centre in a location that was the early 20th century base of the Dutch cocoa trade. We’re not a fan of the touristy area in which its based but when you step into the basement store, the Tony’s magic makes it worthwhile.
Best of all, its home to the “make your own Tony’s” machine where little kids (and big ones) can use the ipads to make a bespoke bar. Choose your chocolate, your flavours and the colour and name of your packet and just watch the production line roll.
In just an hour it will be ready to collect, and if you want to hang around whilst you wait there’s more than enough to occupy you in the store with tshirts, special occasion packets and places to pose for all important Tony’s selfies.
This used to be one of our top Amsterdam secret tips but the cat is well and truly out the bag! On our last visit – a rainy midweek October day in a period when tourism was still limited due to Covid – the queue to get into the basement store was insane. As much as we love it there, lining up for ages in sideways sleet in the most touristy part of town just isn’t that fun, so our top tip is to get there early or late (they are open to 10pm) when there’s more chance of strolling straight in.
As of July 2020 (yes mid-Corona!) the brand new Chocolate Bar opened upstairs in the main Beurs van Berlage building. And its nuts (chocolate nuts obviously!)
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (or that magic hour when your chocolate is being made downstairs) the bar is a highly stylised; grab-a-seat kind of place serving all the crazy chocolate-inspired food and drink you can imagine as well as some savoury dishes and some frankly bizarre mash-ups (croquettes served with dark chocolate or white chocolate quinoa burger anyone??) But let’s face it, what you’re really here for are the freakshakes, bubble waffles, hot choc, s’mores, pretzel toppings, cake and wait for it…. free flowing chocolate taps.
Don’t be fooled by the empty seats on our visit. This was peak Corona, just a week after it opened. Last time we walked past there there were queues to get in and it looked packed inside.
Finally, news of the most recent addition to Tony’s chocolate domination – an inspired store opening at Schipol airport. The brand have taken the most high profile retail space available, and added an enormous screen broadcasting their message about slave free chocolate (and no doubt hypnotising all who walk past).
So just in case you haven’t you haven’t had enough opportunities to stock up on chocolate, tshirts and Tony’s special editions, there’s one last chance to do so before you head home.
I could not love this brand any more deeply. Their goals and objectives, their tone of voice and most importantly their chocolate. Go here. Buy their chocolate. These are GREAT people doing very very good things.
Oscar (aged 7) review:
i love tony’s chocolonely because i love the taste of the flavours.
my rating is 10 out of 10.
it’s the best chocolate ever.
Looking for more ‘Amsterdamspiration’? Check out our insiders’ tips for the best sweets, snacks and street food around the city right here.