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Best alternative and unusual Advent calendars for foodies 2023
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Cadbury Dairy Milk Advent Calendar
Kicking off with a classic, this simple Cadbury’s calendar is surely what comes to mind when you think back to being a child at Christmas? It’s a bargain, it’s simple and it’s a challenge to not tear open more than one window at a time. This year Cadbury have also launched a wider range of calendars including a Heroes calendar and Chunk Calendar for a bit more variety.
Candy Kittens Advent Calendar
Swap chocolate for sweets in this new calendar from Candy Kittens. Each door contains two, so there’s the possibility to share, plus on Christmas Eve there is a full-size bag to pass around. Flavours include Wild Strawberry, Eton Mess and the new sour Shox range.
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Tea, coffee and hot chocolate Advent calendars
Grind Advent calendar
New from Grind, this pretty-in-pink compact calendar feels like good value for coffee lovers. There’s a compostable pod behind each window up until Christmas Eve, then two pods of their limited-edition festive blend for sharing on Christmas Day.
Bird & Blend tea Advent calendar
Make a tea break more interesting with this calendar packed with fun unusual teas. Every colourful drawer contains two teabags, so you can share the fun, too. We loved that there are a whopping 24 flavours of tea within the calendar, so no repeats, with quirky flavours ranging from chocolate digestives to strawberry lemonade. The calendar is 100% plastic-free and there’s a caffeine-free option, too.
Bird & Blend (£38)
Volcano Coffee Works Coffee Advent calendar
While not in traditional calendar form, this Advent gift box has a luxurious feel. Coffee connoisseurs will be in heaven as soon they open it with rich aromas filling the senses. It contains 12 generous 100g bags of Volcano coffee to enjoy (including limited edition festive blends), so plenty to keep you going all season. (You can choose between whole bean or ground coffee.)
Volcano Coffee Works (£54.95)
Artisan Coffee Co. hanging coffee calendar
This coffee calendar has an unusual fold-out design that divided opinion – there are no doors to open, so no mystery. However, we love the quality of the coffee. There are six different styles to try, from The Genius, which was rich and fruity, to The Heroine, with notes of caramel and hazelnut.
English Tea Shop Christmas Night organic teabag Advent calendar
A tea calendar doesn’t have to break the bank. This compact version has minimal packaging and is great value at under £15. We liked the sweet ribbon on the door. You get one teabag a day but there’s an impressive range of styles in here, from seasonal Gingerbread Treat to classic rooibos, fruit and mint teas.
Bird & Blend matcha tea Advent calendar
A twist on a classic tea calendar, this is dedicated to all things matcha. We love the vibrant green design (of course, it’s matcha) and the compact shape, containing over £60 worth of matcha. It’s not just plain matcha either – there’s peaches and cream matcha, toffee apple or Nordic berry. There’s enough for two cups in each mini tin and it’s all plastic-free.
Bird & Blend (£52)
Blue Goose Coffee Pod Advent Calendar
A brilliant coffee option for those with a coffee pod machine, this contains 24 Nespresso-compatible, compostable pods that are all ethically-sourced and organic-certified. Each of the seven unique coffees has a strong sustainability story.
Sweet alternative Advent calendars
Joe & Seph’s ‘Find Joe & Seph’ popcorn Advent calendar
A great one for sharing, this fun calendar contains 14 different flavours of popcorn in mini bags. There are classic flavours (such as caramel and double chocolate) and festive spins, including candy cane and buck’s fizz. You also have the bonus of an illustrated puzzle where you’ll have most of December to try and spot the company founders among a Christmas crowd scene…
Tiptree Jam Advent calendar
Breakfast just got more interesting with this calendar. The affectionately named ‘Jam Bus’ has a fun design and contains eight different classic jams (including two marmalades). We love the Little Scarlet strawberry and sweet Morello cherry. The 42g jar sizes are also pleasingly bigger than we expected.
Pip & Nut Advent calendar
This large calendar is covered in gold-embossed illustrations that are fun and chic. There are a mixture of individually wrapped peanut butter and almond cups behind each door, all coated in dark chocolate and all impressively large – no tiny doors here.
Walkers The Shortbread Advent Calendar
Make your elevenses or afternoon tea break a little sweeter with this traditional shortbread calendar from Walkers. Each door of the festive street scene contains a different buttery shortbread shape, including choc chip and salted caramel flavours.
Naked Marshmallow boozy gourmet marshmallow Advent calendar
For the person who can’t get enough of s’mores in summer, this calendar is sure to please. We tried both the classic and boozy versions, and the latter is our favourite. Each door opens with an explanation of the flavour behind it and we enjoyed all six, with a balanced level of booze that’s not too strong. The raspberry and prosecco is standout. For £3.95 extra, you can get either calendar complete with a mini marshmallow toaster so you can get building s’mores every day – and this little extra also makes it a great gift.
Naked Marshmallow (from £20)
SugarSin 24 Days of Assorted Sugarsin Treats
This compact sweets calendar was a surprise hit during our testing. The pretty double-door teal design has 24 drawers, altogether offering a wide variety of treats, including fudge, truffles and sweets, plus more unusual ones we hadn’t seen before from across the world. It is expensive but perfect for someone with a sweet tooth and a sense of adventure.
SugarSin (from £30)
Savoury alternative Advent calendars
Abel & Cole The 12 Days of Organic Christmas calendar
This lifestyle calendar contains a wide range of food, drink and beauty products. We loved the vibrant yellow design, and despite the generously sized fillings, it still feels compact so won’t take over your whole kitchen. Contents include a Green People Intensive repair shampoo, chutney, teabags, shortbread and more. It is a more expensive option (for just 12 days, not 24) but it still felt good value for money, plus the price includes a £5 donation to charity. (Available from the 9 October.)
Abel & Cole (£45)
Just Spices large Advent calendar
Swap sweets for the joy of cooking over the Christmas period with this quirky calendar filled with unusual spice mixes. A full-size tin is hidden behind each door, including bolognese seasoning, pizza topping and banana bread seasoning, with a QR code on each door for recipe inspiration. Out of two options, the larger size comes with a cookbook. Admittedly, 24 new tins of spice mix will take up room in the storecupboard, but this is a fun way to inspire a novice cook or new homeowner, and there’s a smaller version, at £29.99, that contains sachets instead of tins.
Just Spices (£99.99)
Alcohol Advent calendars
Freixenet and Friends Wine & Fizz Advent Calendar
Make the most of party season with this decadent calendar filled with bottles, a collaboration between Freixenet, I Heart Wines, Mionetto and Mouton Cadet. Discover 12 still wines (red, white and rosé) and 12 sparkling, including four non-alcoholic bottles.
Fever-Tree Gin & Tonic calendar
A fun way to have a boozy Advent calendar without being overwhelmed with minis – this offering from tonic experts Fever Tree combines 12 miniature gins (from brands such as Sipsmith and Hayman’s) with 12 miniature tonics in a range of flavours, so you can build your pairings across the 24 doors.
That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent calendar
The colourful house design of this calendar hides an exciting array of gins. There are 24 different flavours in 30ml wax-sealed drams. Our highlights were the novelty flavours that Boutique-y Gin Company is known for, with 13 new recipes this year including blood orange, bakewell tart and Christmas pudding gin. There are also plenty of plain gins from a variety of distilleries around the world, so there’s something for everyone.
Craft Gin Advent Calendar
A luxury calendar for the gin lover in your life, this offering from Craft Gin Club contains a generous 25 50ml gins, including seven that are exclusive to Craft Gin Club. Festive offerings include Mince Pie Gin and Stollen Gin along with plenty of other flavoured and classic gins. A great way to discover a new favourite tipple or distillery. There’s also the option to purchase a pairings bundle of mixers and garnishes, too.
Craft Gin Club (£94.95)
Gin in a Tin, Twelve Days of Gin in a Tin Advent calendar
Now, it’s controversial whether this truly counts as an Advent calendar. The 12 miniature tins of gin are revealed at once within the cardboard box – no doors to open. We would have loved a little more mystery and excitement, but still, this calendar does deliver intrigue in new flavours of gin and we liked the smart stripy packaging. It would make a great gift for a gin connoisseur, although it is pricey.
Sous Chef (£49.99)
Looking for more ideas? See more alcohol Advent calendars from our sister title, olive magazine.
The best chocolate Advent calendars for 2023
Tony’s Chocolonely countdown calendar
Feel good about your chocolate choice with this towering calendar. The ethical principles stack up quickly: Tony’s is committed to reducing slavery in chocolate production, the cocoa used is all Fairtrade, free from palm oil and has no plastic packaging. It’s filled with ‘Tiny Tonys’ in 10 signature flavours and the inside of each door bears a mission statement. You get an extra chocolate on one day, and another where it’s all about the mission.
Hotel Chocolat milk chocolate Advent calendar
Here’s a classic filled with mini chocolates in fun festive shapes, and Hotel Chocolat also offers variations for dark, white or even unique caramel chocolate or nutmilk (made with hazelnuts) for vegans.
Hotel Chocolat (£13)
Chococo Countdown Advent calendar
This luxury calendar is like no other. Looking like a chic box of chocolates, it offers milk, dark, gold and oat milk chocolates. The numbered box shows you the order to eat them in, with flavours getting progressively more boozy to get you in the party mood by Christmas. Flavours include festive spins as well as classics, such as fizzy pudding, chai spice, a rich molasses and brown butter caramel. A plant-based edition is also available.
Love Cocoa Luxury Chocolate Neapolitan Advent Calendar
For a chocolate Advent calendar that feels special but won’t break the bank, look to Love Cocoa. Behind each door is a chocolate square in one of four flavours: salted caramel, sea salt dark chocolate, Colombian milk or dark gingerbread chocolate. Plus, it is completely plastic-free, the chocolate is ethically sourced and one tree is planted for every calendar bought.
Love Cocoa (£15)
PLAYin Choc 24-Day Advent calendar
This charming calendar means no kid has to be left out: the chocolate inside is all dairy-, nut-, gluten- and soy-free, catering to allergies. Not only that, but the eco-friendly calendar has an extra-special design: the outer sleeve opens into a playmat, and every door contains a toy along with the chocolate, for hours of festive fun. A 12-day calendar is also available.
Hotel Chocolat The Advent Calendar For Two
One for the romantics: every door of this calendar contains two Hotel Chocolat truffles made for sharing. The double-door design opens up wide and contains a range of flavours to try, from festive gingerbread praline to salted caramel cream or fruity raspberry rush.
Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Advent calendar
This simple calendar feels more like a box of chocolates than a calendar. Each door tells you what chocolate is inside, with a wide variety of flavours to keep the intrigue going all month.
Wickedly Welsh (£19.99)
Melt London The 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar
We love the design of this open-book style calendar with pretty illustrated doors. Although there are only 12 doors inside, each one contains a 45g luxury bar so there’s plenty to keep you going. Flavours include pistachio blonde chocolate, 70% chilli dark chocolate and gianduja chocolate, plus there’s a vegan option.
Melt London (£49.99)
HAPPi Advent calendar
A great pick for vegans, this colourful calendar contains oat milk chocolate made from single-origin Colombian cocoa and is sure to please kids and adults alike. The calendar is plastic-free too.
Luxury Advent calendars
The Cartwright and Butler Advent calendar
Instead of a Christmas hamper, splash out on this truly decadent Advent calendar to make all of December feel special. You’ll need plenty of space for this extra-large festive red box (54 x 43 x 23cm), with double doors opening to reveal 24 sliding drawers filled with indulgent full-size treats from across the Cartwright & Butler range. There are plenty of biscuits – including cranberry crumbles and demerara shortbread – but there’s lots more to discover, with hot chocolate, sweets, jam, cheesy crackers, prosecco and fudge all involved. An exceptional gift for someone who deserves a treat, or just enjoy with your family all month long. The struggle will be resisting opening all the drawers on day one.
Cartwright and Butler (£210)
Hotel Chocolat The Grand Advent calendar
For the chocoholic wanting to go all-out this Christmas, Hotel Chocolat has you sorted. £75 may seem a lot to pay for a chocolate Advent calendar, but this huge one offers a lot more than just a daily truffle. From mini bottles of cacao gin and chocolate liqueur to plenty of different flavours of chocolate batons, truffles, mini chocolate crackers and even a lip balm, this is a tour de force of the entire Hotel Chocolat range, where everything has been supersized for festive decadence.
Hotel Chocolat (£75)
Fortnum & Mason Feasting Advent Calendar
Fortnum & Mason instantly signals luxury, and this calendar is certainly that. We love the design that makes a colourful statement all December long, and enjoyed discovering each of the different-sized drawers. Inside you’ll find a selection of chutneys, jams, biscuits, teas and more – including several doors hiding miniature alcohol, from English cassis to Christmas gin, and an extra-special treat for Christmas Eve.
Fortnum & Mason (£200)
Paxton & Whitfield artisan cheese Advent calendar
Blow the budget with the ultimate Advent calendar for cheese lovers. There’s a 75g wedge of artisan cheese to enjoy each day, and it arrives in three separate deliveries throughout December for maximum freshness. The cheese is sent fully insulated via a carbon-neutral delivery service. From classic festive stilton and gruyère to unique British and European finds, make December the ultimate cheese discovery journey.
Paxton & Whitfield (£150)
The Fenwick 2023 12 Days of Delicious Calendar
We loved the elegant design of this calendar that truly captures the feeling of browsing a department store at Christmas. The careful curation of 12 products stand out for their generous size and variety. From tea and coffee to miniature sloe gin, marzipan fruits, chocolate and even a mini bottle of Möet, there’s a chic treat to discover each day.
Honeywell Biscuit Co jar of Advent biscuits
A baked alternative to a classic Advent calendar, this jar is filled with buttery biscuits that are each intricately iced and numbered in festive designs, including penguins and baubles. Pricey, but it makes a lovely Christmas gift.
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This review was last updated in October 2023. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at email@example.com.