Good Food Blog
Ultimate advent calendars 2012Posted at 12:02PM, 15 November 2012 by Roxanne Fisher - Writer/Sub-editor, bbcgoodfood.com
Looking for the ultimate pre-Christmas indulgence? Count down the days until Christmas with our pick of this year's ultimate advent calendars...
It might not be in the true spirit of advent, but if you simply can't get through a December morning without a sweet treat, take a look at our ultimate advent calendars, sure to make this year's countdown extra special...
Chococo - advent treasure hunt kit
Introducing an element of hide-and-seek to your morning countdown is this cute Santa-red sack from Chococo. Wrapped in cellophane, and numbered accordingly the two handmade chocolates inside each pouch are just about the tastiest advent chocolate around.
Advent treasure hunt kit - £19.95: Chococo
Cocoapod - Lots of Pots of Sweets
Get a nostalgia hit each morning with Cocoapod's retro sweet advent calendar. Perfect for sharing as each pot comes packed with old favourites such as mini jellybeans, jazzies and dolly mixtures. There are two versions, one in which pots are found in four Christmas tubes, and our favourite, which involves packaging up pots in traditional stripy bags, adding numbered festive stickers and hanging like bunting. Fun to make and even more fun to eat!
Lots of Pots of Sweets and Lots of Pots Bunting - £19.50 each: Cocoapod
Fortnum & Mason - wooden advent calendar
For those really wanting to make a statement this Christmas, Fortnum & Mason have an extravagant suggestion. Their reusable wooden advent calendar depicts the image of the famous store in full Christmas regalia into which you can add your own treats, or purchase the refill box, packed with Fortnum & Mason sweets and chocolate. There's even a musical version for those wanting to really splash out.
Wooden advent calendar, £95 (£125 filled): Fortnum & Mason
Hotel Chocolat - Truffles For Two
Two truffles hide behind each door of this indulgent creation from Hotel Chocolat. With delicious, varying flavours from salted caramel to seasonal gingerbread and being one of the few calendars to cater for couples, it easily make it into our top picks - despite the elegant but slightly plain packaging.
Truffles For Two, £25: Hotel Chocolat
John Lewis - Make Your Own advent calender
If you're after a bit of pre-advent creativity, this calendar from John Lewis allows you to get in the spirit before December. The idea is simple but good fun to do with children - simply melt down the provided chocolate nibs, pour into the moulds and leave to set.
Chocolate on Chocolate, Make Your Own advent calender, £9.50: John Lewis
Artisan du Chocolate - Reindeer advent calendar
A big hit in our office, this lovely wooden Reindeer calendar is full of delicious Artisan du Chocolat treats and can be kept and refilled year after year with whatever takes your fancy.
Reindeer advent calendar, £35: Artisan du Chocolat
John Lewis - Iced gingerbread advent calendar
While the packaging leaves little to be desired, the gingerbread inside looks and tastes great and makes a nice alternative to the usual daily chocolate hit. Red and white numbered biscuits sit alongside carefully decorated Santas, snowmen and other Christmas depictions. To ensure they stay fresh we'd recommend transferring the biscuits to a tin after opening.
Iced gingerbread advent calendar - £12: John Lewis
Niederegger - Marzipan chocolate advent calendar
If you've never tried espresso or pineapple marzipan, now's your chance. An unusual design and array of flavours make this a decidedly different choice - definitely one for grown ups.
Marzipan chocolate advent calendar - £12: Debenhams
Biscuiteers - advent calendar tin
Tired of all the chocolate? Biscuiteers have created this delightful tin, filled with 24 decoratively iced festive biscuits designed to sit inside their ready to hang, homemade cloth calendar. The pockets are deep and the calendar reusable, so it's fit for filling with your own goodies for years to come.
Advent calendar, £65 (£45 without the cloth calendar): Biscuiteers
Moo Free - Organic Dairy-free advent calendar
Organic, dairy-free, lactose-free, gluten-free, wheat-free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans, this is as guilt-free as a chocolate advent calendar gets. We were a little skeptical as to what the chocolate would taste like, but the creamy texture and chocolate-like taste silenced all critics. With a cute design, this is one all the family can enjoy.
Organic Dairy-free advent calendar, £4.75: Moo Free Chocolate
Tradition over treats...
If there's one time of year we should enjoy a bit of indulgence it's Christmas. However, if you dislike the idea of starting the day on a sugar-high or simply miss the more traditional countdown to Christmas, here are a handful of our sweet-less favourites:
Crackers are no longer only for Christmas Day. Pull a cracker every morning to find a character from the Nativity scene. Once you have all 24 you can transform the box into a 3D stable.
Lakeland advent crackers, £7.99: Lakeland
Selfridges - Nativity pop-up advent calendar
Celebrate advent with this 3D nativity calendar that hides a festive image behind each window. All the family will love the detailed design, the ultimate in tradition.
Nativity pop-up advent calendar, £15.95: Selfridges
Advent calendar to colour
Keep kids busy with this lovely advent calendar. On opening you'll find a busy street scene with plenty to colour in, plus behind each door there is a festive image they can bring to life each day in their own special way.
Waterstones - £5.99: Waterstones
Are you all about tradition or more about the treats? How will you celebrate the countdown to Christmas?