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Meet Ovomaltine - A Famous Swiss Chocolate Drink

If you'll ask any random person what food Switzerland is famous for, I'm pretty sure they would give the following answer: chocolate and cheese. Today, I want to talk about one of these, namely a very famous Swiss chocolate drink called 'Ovomaltine'.

If Wikipedia is accurate, real 'Ovomaltine' is produced, eaten and drunk only in Switzerland. The international market carries a slightly different product called "Ovaltine" which differs from the original mainly in the amount of sugar it contains. But what exactly is real 'Ovomaltine'? There are actually several chocolaty products that carry this brand name: chocolate bars, candy, chocolate drinks, chocolate powder, energy (chocolate) bars and more. The most famous of these is of course the chocolate powder that you use for making hot chocolate. In fact, hot 'Ovomaltine' milk has even become some sort of national beverage.

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In Switzerland, hot chocolate is not made with hot milk and melted chocolate cubes but with hot milk and chocolate powder. When some American friends visited me in Switzerland they were quite surprised at the result of their ordering hot chocolate in a cafe: the waiter brought a cup of steaming hot milk and a little bag with chocolate powder. I don't remember if it was 'Ovomaltine' or some other brand but they were obviously puzzled by it and I had a good laugh. Once they figured out they had to mix the hot chocolate themselves, they complained that the drink wasn't sweet enough and added sugar to their drink. This is not surprising since the original Swiss 'Ovomaltine' does not contain any sugar.

As a Swiss native, I am used to how Swiss restaurants serve hot chocolate. I basically grew up drinking 'Heissi Ovis' (= hot Ovomaltine chocolate) most every morning before going to school and always mixed the chocolate powder with the milk myself. The more, the better! Parents used to give it to their children because compared to other chocolate drinks it is considered tasty and healthy.

However, "Ovomaltine" has not only become famous thanks to its taste and healthiness but also thanks to its very memorable advertising slogans. In the 1980ies the slogan 'Have you had your Ovomaltine yet?' was very popular. My personal favorite is the following slogan: 'With Ovomaltine you can't do it better but longer!'. It was part of the advertising campaign in the late 1990ies.

Even now I still remember one of their commercials: A young guy is trying to ride up with a ski lift with his snowboard but fails again and again. Remember, this was when snowboarding was new and very cool! Eventually, he takes a break and drinks some 'Ovomaltine' and returns to try again but to no avail! The main message is clear: 'Ovomaltine' won't make you a better snowboarder but it will help you keep trying. You can have a look at the commercial here:



  1. It seems weird because I also know a similar product called Ovaltine in Asia. It's similar when it comes to the closeness of the name plus it's color and branding. Although it might have a difference when it comes to it's taste. I haven't tried Ovomaltine before.

  2. Ovaltine is the non-Swiss version of Ovomaltine and is supposed to taste quite similar except for the additional sugar.

  3. I prefer Ovomaltine as tend to find with the hot milk i don't need to add sugar, whereas the UK version is made with hot water and even with sugar in the product it doesn't taste sweet enough

    1. Ovomaltine definitely must go with hot milk! I've never tasted the UK version but I haven't heard much good about it...

  4. Ovaltine and Ovalmaltine are the same thing, they all are made in Switzerland, or for Asia in Thailand. I work for the parent company, TwiningsOvo. The tastes for each country will change according to taste/palate preferences of the citizens.

    1. Yes, same thing different name.

    2. It's not the same thing. Theres a ton of sugar in Ovaltine. But not in the Swiss Ovolmatine. Nestle owns Ovaltune now and its like Nestles Quik.

  5. Every evening we'd have a cup of hot milk, adding a sachet of Ovomaltine. No sugar was ever needed, and it is absolutely delicious, especially if drunk from genuine Ovomaltine mugs which I managed to buy!

    1. Yes, I also find the original Ovomaltine sweet enough, especially when you mix it with milk (the way you're "supposed" to drink it). Glad you were able to find mugs to go with it!

  6. I am a bit puzzled that you mention Ovomaltine as a powder to make a hot chocolate. If you order a hot chocolate in a restaurant, you are most likely to get a "Caotina" or similar powder. If you want to have an Ovomaltine, you better order a "hot Ovo"! Ovomaltine is based on malt. Yes, it has cocoa inside but no added sugar. The sweetness comes out of malt itself, hence it has a distinctive taste. Since I got a diabetes type 2, Ovomaltine is still a powder I may add to my breakfast milk!

    1. You are right that in Switzerland it would be better to order a "heissi Ovi" if you want hot Ovomaltine and "heissi Schoggi" if you want hot chocolate. I think though in the international context both would be considered hot chocolate drinks.

      Ovomaltine has no added sugar in Switzerland. I believe in the US there is sugar in it. Check for info on the ingredients.


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