The best Advent calendars for foodies 2019

Count down to Christmas a little differently this year with an alternative foodie Advent calendar. We've rounded up the best, including options for gin and popcorn lovers. 
 

Bonne Maman jam Advent calendar opened out on a festive backdrop

All products were chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more and read about how we write BBC Good Food reviews.

Advent calendars are becoming more inventive than ever, and we tested more than 30 alternative buys for foodies – including everything from tea and coffee to fudge, popcorn and even cheese – to find our favourites. We tested the calendars based on taste, look, innovation, practicality and cost – these are the foodie countdowns that came out on top for Christmas 2019.

For more than 200 buyer's guides, visit our review section to find our ultimate foodie gift guide, spirits reviews and the results of our 2019 Christmas Taste Awards

 

play in choc advent calendar

PlayinChoc Advent calendar

*Star buy* Best overall Advent calendar

Unanimously loved by the whole team, this is as much a gift for families as it is an Advent calendar. Inside each of the 24 colourful drawers (which could be reused afterwards for storing trinkets or small toys) is an organic, dairy-free chocolate; a 3D puzzle toy for kids to build and fun fact card, so there's something to keep everyone entertained through the holidays. Plus, the whole calendar is made from recycled, recyclable and compostable materials – hats off, PlayinChoc!


Available from:
Ocado (£55)
PlayinChoc (£55)

Not on the High Street (£65)

 

Joe & Seph's popcorn calendar

Joe & Seph’s gourmet popcorn Advent calendar

Best for sweet snackers

Popcorn pros Joe & Seph’s pulled out all the stops with this festive countdown. The fold-out calendar depicts a snow-dappled popcorn shopfront – complete with festive wreath – and inside, there are 24 doors to open, each revealing a small packet of super-crunchy flavoured popcorn. Our favourite is the brand-new speculoos flavour, but there are plenty of others to suit different tastes, including salted caramel, banoffee pie and white chocolate & strawberry.


Available from: 
Amazon (£22.75)

Joe and Seph's (£25)

bonne maman advent calendar

Bonne Maman Advent calendar

Best for breakfast

As Advent calendars are usually opened in the morning, a jam-filled one makes total sense. Behind each door of this festive red-and-white freestanding calendar is a generous-sized pot of jam – you'll get a different flavour every day, from a range including purple fig & cinnamon, grapefruit & dragonfruit and white nectarine & peach. Spread your Advent treat on toast, crumpets or swirled through your breakfast porridge.


Available from Bonne Maman (£23.99)

cambridge distillery advent calendar

Cambridge Distillery 12 days of outstanding gin

Best for gin lovers

The design of this gin-filled calendar might look less obviously festive, but it stands out among the boozy calendars on offer this year. The turquoise box with ribbon-handled drawers is beautiful (so much so, we'd consider reusing it afterwards as a jewellery box), and the gins inside are excellent. Each drawer contains a different 5cl bottle of Cambridge Distillery gin, from their classic gin to unique flavoured varieties such as smoked and truffle gins. It also comes with a gin glass, and each type of gin comes with an included serving suggestion so you can fully enjoy your drink.


Available from Cambridge Distillery (£99.99)

the spicery spices advent calendar curries

The Spicery 12 curries of Christmas 

Best for chefs

The festive period is often heavy on sweet flavours – whether it's chocolate, mince pies or mulled wine – so this spice-filled calendar brings a welcome change. Not only is it eye-catching in a green-and-gold embroidery-style design, but the idea is novel: each of the 12 doors open to reveal a different spice blend and corresponding curry recipe. There’s Indian takeaway favourites such as creamy korma and fiery madras as well as global options such as Japanese katsu and Jamaican curry goat. It's the perfect tool for breaking out of a cooking rut over the holiday season. 


Available from:
Ocado (£29.95)
The Spicery (£29.95)

newby tea advent calendar

Newby Tea Advent calendar

Best for tea lovers

This beautiful fold-out calendar is designed to look like a Japanese tea house. Inside, the theme continues, with watercolour illustrations inspired by Mount Fuji decorating the 24 drawers that house 96 individually wrapped teabags. The teas include classic flavours such as assam black tea, Earl Grey, English breakfast, jasmine and mint as well as more unusual brews such as rosehip & hibiscus, summer berries and lemon verbena. This is a real treat for any tea lover, and it's one that will look classy on your kitchen counter. 


Available from Newby Tea (£59)

niederegger advent calendar

Niederegger Santa Advent calendar

Most festive Advent calendar

If you want to feel truly festive in the run up to the big day, it doesn’t get much more so than this colourful calendar from German marzipan specialists Niederegger. The Advent treats inside – including truffles, pralines and classic marzipan offerings – converted even some of the self-professed marzipan haters on our team. There’s something for everyone in this ultra-Christmassy countdown.  


Available from Amazon (£33.50)

naked marshamallow gourmet marshmallow advent calendar 2019

Gourmet Marshmallow Advent calendar 

Best for someone with a sweet tooth 

Although the design of this calendar is lacklustre on the festive front, this was forgiven once we tried its contents. Following the sell-out success of last year’s calendar, The Naked Marshmallow has added two new flavours – milk & cookies and butterscotch – to its existing range of gourmet flavoured marshmallows, which also include salted caramel, s’mores, mint choc chip and a deliciously festive gingerbread. Not only are the marshmallows extremely soft and fluffy, they’re also a generous size and well-flavoured. Plus, Christmas Day has an extra special surprise behind it’s door…


Available from Amazon (£19.99)
 

beer hawk beer advent calendar 2019
Beer Hawk Craft Beer ADVENTure calendar

Best for beer lovers 

More of an impressive gift than an advent calendar, this huge, decorated box from Beer Hawk houses 24 different beers from 14 different countries around the world, hence its clever ‘ADVENTure calendar’ title. It contains a wide range of different styles, including lagers, IPAs, pale ales and flavoured varieties and they come in full sized bottles or cans (330ml). Although the calendar lacks a Christmassy look, the design is fun and the range of beers so varied and generous that it's sure to excite any beer fanatic. Plus, the beers included are worth around £80 in total, so this is great value at £59.99.


Available from Beer Hawk (£59.99)

Fortnum & Mason feasting advent calendar with products

Fortnum’s Feasting Advent calendar 

Best for gourmet foodies 

This is the first time that Fortnum & Mason have made a food Advent calendar and it’s clear that the team have decided to ‘go big or go home’. While the price tag of this mammoth calendar is eye-watering, once you start opening its doors, you can see why. The large fold-out calendar in striking festive red and Fortnum’s signature Eau de Nil colour features 25 numbered drawers of differing sizes, each filled with a carefully chosen gourmet item from Fortnum’s celebrated food range. This includes generous pots of marmalade, jam, relish, honey, mustard, tins of hot chocolate, coffee and dinky bottles of booze, as well as biscuits, fruitcake and more. And for the big day? A little bottle of champagne, of course!

Available from Fortnum & Mason (£200)

How to cater for everyone...

Lily's Kitchen cat advent calendar on a white background

Lily's Kitchen pet Advent calendars

Why should furry companions miss out on the fun of the festive countdown? These calendars look traditional, but behind each window is a Christmas-themed animal-friendly biscuit, with versions available for cats or dogs. Just don't get it mixed up with your own chocolate calendar on those dark winter mornings. 


Available from Lily's Kitchen (£10)


How to give back...

Food bank parcel with cans

Image: Getty

Reverse Advent calendar 

Try a ‘reverse Advent calendar’ by providing a donation to a local food bank for each day of December. So, instead of opening a window every morning, collect an item of food or toiletries – by the time Christmas comes around, you'll have a full parcel to drop off. Read more about reverse Advent calendars here and contact your local food bank to find out how to donate and what supplies are needed most.

This review was last updated in November 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk. 

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
Be the first to comment...We'd love to hear how you got on with this recipe. Did you like it? Would you recommend others give it a try?
Be the first to ask a question about this recipe...Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved...
Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe...Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.