Our tarboush is not our tarboush

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The blog Beirut/NTSC posted some very sad news yesterday, it turns out the Gandour “Tarboush” (AKA Rass al 3abed) is actually not a Gandour or Lebanese creation, but it’s actually copied from a Swiss company! They copied everything, the chocolate idea, the branding of it and even the name!

The original name of the Swiss chocolate was “Têtes de nègre” which translates to “Negro heads” in English and “Rass al 3abed” in Arabic. Back in 1992 “Têtes de nègre” was renamed to “Tête au Choco” or “Swiss Chocolate Whips” while in Lebanon Gandour just recently renamed it from “Rass al 3abed” to “Tarboush”.

I thought this was very disappointing since Lebanese generally regard “Rass al 3abed” as our very own product. As a commentator (bodywotwat) on Beirut/NTSC highlighted, this isn’t the only idea Gandour have copied, here are more products:

Safari is inspired from Lion Bar
Pik-One is inspired from KitKat
Pik-One Big is inspired from KitKat Chunky
Queen is inspired from Prince Lu
Hawaii is inspired from Bounty
Tofiluk is inspired from Twix
XL’Z is inspired from M&M’s
Gandour Gum is inspired from Chiclets

Check out Beirut/NTSC’s post [Here]

Update: It seems there is a possibility that Ras al 3abed was actually created in the 1930’s… once I find out more about this will post another update.

37 thoughts on “Our tarboush is not our tarboush

  1. Najib

    It would be interesting to see when Rass el Abed was released since the other one was launched in 1969.

    Plus who knows? Maybe they were working with that Swiss company to come out with such products and did not steal it?

  2. Mark

    That’s the thing, at first I thought maybe they stole it from us BUT according to the Villars website:

    Takeover and integration of Perrier SA, Chavannes. Villars acquires the famous « Tête au Choco » or « Chocolate Swiss Whips », a product leader in the Swiss market.

    I don’t think Rass al 3abed existed back in 1969…

  3. Sareen

    Yeah but I bet the Swiss one isn’t filled with Kellej! That’s the difference between the Lebanese one and the swiss one. I think their’s contains only some cream and not Kellej.

  4. Alf

    I dont care about Safari, Hawaii or Tofiluk… but rass el 3abed! It has to be Lebanese…

    Sorry but I’m gonna consider this post unread 😛

  5. Ronman

    i’m devastated… the Tarboush was the last pillar of my faith in this country’s potential in coming up with a chocolate without having to copy another brand and give it a truly racist name in the process; just for good measure. Ha!

    But have they Copied Unica? that would be even more devastating…

    as for the Ras el 3abed entry to markets, i will inquire with my dad, he’s been around since the mid 30s so he should remember…

  6. haissam

    WHAT? I don’t even know what to say… Now before my childhood dreams get shattered, i will go through some research and then to decide whether to love/hate gandour. This story is huge and it better be wrong

  7. Joe

    la7za shwai.. did Ghandour claim that they “pioneered” this chocolate or that they had “exclusivity” over it?

    I don’t see where’s the fuss.

  8. Mark

    Joe notice how the two boxes in the post look similar? One copied the other. If its Gandour that did the copying that would be sad because ras al 3abed AKA Tarboush is like a Lebanese icon.

  9. rana

    I live in the town where villars produce les chocos, and i can guarantee you that if Rass el Abed is a copy of villars, it’s a million times better !! i’ll bring you some in two weeks 🙂

  10. Ronman

    rana, don’t forget the rest of the BlogBaladi Community, I suggest you rack them up and use your air miles for excess weight…I’ll gladly give some of my miles for the cause of solving this issue…

    Mark, Najib, where’s the research at? any saddening news about UNICA?

    Dang! since that 5000LL/Unica post, I’ve eaten 20 Liters of gasoline worth of Unicas…Ghandour should sponsor this blog…:)

  11. Najib

    I am awaiting an offical reply from Ghandour very soon. Will update you once I get it since it appears this issue is very sensitive to all of us.

  12. Ronman

    Najib, Nothing is wrong with Unica, well i hope nothing is wrong with Unica, it’s Ghandour’s last beacon of Lebanese chocolatey originality…

    About my previous comment, i want to know where the research is at and if you accidentally find out that UNICA is also been plagiarized…

  13. samer

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!mark you just ruined my whole childhood !!!!! some things should go under surveillance or censorship before being posted :P:P:P

    ras l 3abed rocksssssssssssssssssssssssssss !!!
    100% lebanese no matter what they say

  14. Leila moussa

    “Denmark is arguably the largest producer of chocolate-coated marshmallow treats, producing approximately 800 million of these every year”.

    stolen or not, everybody loves TARBOUSH!!!

    so just keep eating it!!! 🙂

  15. Mark

    In 1969 Villars PURCHASED Perrier SA. They acquired it basically then but the product actually existed before under the brand Perrier.

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  19. azad

    In Lebanon, a local variation went on sale in the 1950s under the name ras el abd (slave’s head) by Gandour;[41] however, it has since been changed to Tarboush (Fez) but continues to be referred to by the latter name in public.[42] A similar product in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia is Wagon Wheels. In Australia the closest product is Arnott’s Chocolate Royals, which are available in milk and dark chocolate varieties, and are similar in appearance to a Tunnock’s teacake. Choco Pie, produced by Orion Confectionery in Korea, are similar to the North American MoonPie and Scooter Pie. In South Africa, they are known as Sweetie Pies. WIKIPEDIA


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