You are never to old for an advent calendar. Or at least that's my justification for having one.
Lately, Black Friday, Brexit, and, quite frankly, modern life in general all suck the festive spirit bone dry, so now more than ever we need an escape back to our childhoods when the month of December was jam packed full of Christmas cheer.
For most of an entire month, chocolate is
permitted for breakfast. And each door reveals a new surprise and another notch on the countdown to the big night Santa Claus traverses the globe in record time.
Advent calendars come in all shapes and sizes. After the success of the beauty box advent calendars last year, pretty much every company has come up with their own version. Boots has a massive range of beauty advent calendars, Sainsbury's has a Gin Advent Calendar, Air Wick has its Scented Candle Advent Calendar, Snaffling Pig has its Pork Crackling Advent Calendar, and Lidl even has a Powerfix Profi Tool Kit Advent Calendar with 'exciting' new tools and drill bits behind each door (yes, really).
Back to the far more serene world of chocolate, Cadbury, Nestle, Kinnerton, and the supermarket value brands have sub-100g calendars that come in at under £2 each, dropping to around £1 when on offer.
For those not content with somewhere around 4 grams of chocolate per day, then look no further. I've scoured my local shops and the web to find you the biggest, the best, and the most beautiful chocolate advent calendars for 2018. And there's not a pork scratching or toolkit in sight (phew!).
To keep it fair, I've ordered them in order of extravagance based on price.
In this article:
- Melt Chocolates Reindeer Advent Calendar
- COCOAPOD Huge Chocolate Christmas Tree Advent Calendar
- Hotel Chocolat The Grand Advent Calendar
- Neuhaus Winter Wonderland Pop Up Chocolate Advent Calendar 2018
- Charbonnel et Walker Chocolate Advent Calendar
- Betty's Advent Calendar
- Harrods Chocolate Advent Calendar
- Niederegger Marzipan Christmas Carousel Advent Calendar
- Reber Silent Night Advent Calendar
- Michel Cluizel Premium Advent Calendar
- Lily O'Brien's Chocolate Advent House
- Chococo Chocolate Advent Selection Box
- Prestat The Snowman Advent Calendar
- Artisan du Chocolat Count Down Sleeps Till Christmas
- Fornum & Mason Children's Chocolate Advent Calendar
- Godiva Chocolate Advent Calendar
- Abtey Chocolatier Chocolate Liqueur Advent Calendar
- Martin's Chocolatier Luxury Christmas Advent Calendar
- Gail's Advent Calendar
- Nono Cocoa Vegan Superfood Advent Calendar
- Friars Chocolate Truffle Advent Calendar
- Thorntons Rituals Advent Calendar
- Green & Black's Luxury Chocolate Advent Calendar
- House of Dorchester Christmas Characters Chocolate Advent Calendar
- After Eight Big Ben Advent Calendar
- Montezuma's Organic & Vegan Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar
- Venchi Advent Calendar
- Divine Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar
- Cadbury Heroes Advent Calendar
- The Sweet Reason Company Artisan Brownie Advent Calendar
1 Melt Chocolates Reindeer Advent Calendar
You are in for a right treat in this run down of the best advent calendars this year, and what better place to start than a charming wooden ornament of a reindeer pulling a sleigh?
This handcrafted wooden display piece will become a firm Christmas fixture for Christmases to come, as you refill it each year with a fresh batch of chocolates.
In each of the 24 numbered drawers you will discover a milk or dark chocolate flavoured with a variety of honey pollen, fennel, praline, feuillantine, and orange. It all sounds heavenly to me.
£89.99 - Shop here.
2 COCOAPOD Huge Chocolate Christmas Tree Advent Calendar
This advent calendar is massive, although with an absence of doors, it's far from traditional. But let me reiterate, it's MAHOOSIVE (think 1.4 kilograms with a colossal 150 chocolates)! Not only that, it's personalised. And it's so pretty!
The individual chocolates are just over 9 grams each, and are handmade by COCOAPOD using milk, dark, and white couverture chocolate, and are decorated with white numbers and letters on the tops.
It's up to you whether the bottom two rows are in milk or dark chocolate, and you can customise the message to pretty much anything you like (within reason and letters permitting). You can also choose whether to have one set of numbers (you know, if it's all for you) or two sets of numbers if you plan to begrudgingly share with a loved one.
Ordinarily I'd say you'd need to exercise self restraint not to eat them all up in one go, but you can comfortably eat 6 per day from 1st through to the 25th December should you want to indulge.
£76.50 - Shop here.
3 Hotel Chocolat The Grand Advent Calendar
If you have always wanted to turn your home into a small branch of Hotel Chocolat, then your dream is about to come true. This is the aptly-named Grand Advent Calendar.
Make no mistake, this one packs a punch at 1.6kg of magic. That works out as just over 66 grams of chocolate per day on average, which is around 16 times more than your bog standard supermarket advent calendar.
This two-sided advent calender is packed to the brim with Hotel Chocolat goodies, from Slabs and Puddles to Wreaths and Selectors. There's also a tasty smooth Hazelnut Bûche to boot too.
If you are torn about whether to plump for a booze-filled advent calender or this chocolate box of tricks, then hop off that fence and pick this one. Not only does it come with drinking chocolate and Cocoa Breakfast Tea but it also includes a bottle of Cocoa Gin and Salted Caramel Cocoa Vodka Liqueur.
£68 - Shop here°.
VIP.ME members get a free Selector when you spend £30+. Sign up for free. No code necessary. Shop at Hotel Chocolat°
Ends on Sunday 17th December 2023. Terms and exclusions may apply. See website for details.
4 Neuhaus Winter Wonderland Pop Up Chocolate Advent Calendar 2018
This is one of the prettiest packaged advent calendars on my list, and it comes from Neuhaus of Belgium. It starts life much like any traditional chocolate box. Each day you lift a single piece of the display revealing a delicious chocolate from the Neuhaus timeless collection, weighing in at just over 13 grams each on average.
By day 25 the three-dimensional picture is complete, and it captures the essence of the Christmas Markets in and around Grand Place, Brussels (which is absolutely fabulous at Christmastime in case you fancy a visit by the way). It's a fitting image as the birthplace of the Belgian praline.
RRP: £55 - Available from Amazon°.
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I'm not sure when this expires. Terms and exclusions may apply. See website for details.
5 Charbonnel et Walker Chocolate Advent Calendar
If there's one advent calendar in the royal household this year then it may well be this one from Charbonnel et Walker, Royal Warrant holder as manufacturers of chocolate for her Majesty The Queen. And if it's good enough for the monarchy then it's good enough for the rest of us too.
For us fans of 25 days of chocolate instead of the usual 24, this advent calendar is ideal. Each day averages just shy of 13 grams of chocolate too.
While details are scant, looking at the ingredient list, the dark and milk chocolates appear to contain an assortment of fillings throughout the festive period. It appears to contain the likes of Gianduja nut milk chocolate, vanilla caramel, fudge, hazelnut paste, marzipan, crystallised ginger, and so on. As William Cowper penned in his poem, The Task, "variety is the very spice of life."
6 Betty's Advent Calendar
Rather than opting for a boxed calendar, Betty's has produced a fabric version that can be hung up by hoops in the top corners. The calendar features a new and exclusive design for Betty's by Poppy Treffry of Cornwall.
24 individually pockets conceal a chocolate surprise, with each one weighing in at just under 11 grams on average. Each of the solid milk and white chocolate novelties depicts a traditional festive item, such as a snowman, bells, a Christmas tree, and more.
This is one advent calendar that will stand the test of time as you'll want to bring it out each December, refilling it with fresh chocolates to count down the days until 25th December arrives.
£49.95 - Shop here°.
7 Harrods Chocolate Advent Calendar
This unassuming festive red cardboard box unfolds out to reveal four joined cuboids, each bearing six numbered doors. It's a simple yet elegant design that looks pretty displayed at home ahead of Christmas.
You get just over 8 grams of chocolate per day on average, and it is a mix of centres (think cherry, coffee, spices, and fruit flavours) wrapped in Colombian milk and dark chocolate.
£40 - Shop here°.
8 Niederegger Marzipan Christmas Carousel Advent Calendar
24 days filled with marzipan sound very good to me. But this isn't any old marzipan, No, it's Niederegger's famous marzipan heralding from Lübeck in Northern Germany. It is made to a secret recipe although I know it contains almonds (duh) and alcohol of some description, although the finished product contains 0.01% alcohol.
I've visited Hamburg but have yet to make a pilgrimage beyond to this fabulous city. So while I dream of travels far and wide, I can gorge on this advent calendar. The beautiful scene depicts the city of Lübeck interpreted as a model railway, with plenty of traditionally festive elements, such as ice skaters, angels, and good old Santa Claus.
This is a bulky advent calendar and averages nearly 21 grams of chocolate and marzipan per day. Pure joy if you ask me.
9 Reber Silent Night Advent Calendar
Marzipan is up there on my list of all-time favourite foods, only made better by a smothering of chocolate. And Reber happens to be one of my favourite marzipan brands.
This large advent calendar is decorated with a picture of children singing in front of the Silent Night Chapel in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria on a cold winter night. It is filled with a mix of dark and milk chocolates, each filled with nougat, marzipan or cream fillings.
So during the 24 day countdown you'll sample a variety of flavours from pistachio or hazelnut through to caramel or honey cream. And at just over 19 grams per window on average, you are getting a generous bite of pleasure each day.
10 Michel Cluizel Premium Advent Calendar
Frenchman Michel Cluizel has traded since 1947 and is a respected bean-to-bar maker producing a range of single origin chocolates using a range of natural ingredients. It's an approach that is very much on-trend right now.
Savour 24 days of filled chocolate treats from 'The Goldsmith of Chocolate' in this calendar. It is said that this calendar suits the most discerning of chocolate lovers who look for the hallmarks of quality.
Enjoy, on average, just shy of 12 grams of chocolate per day, and expect to discover pralines, single origin chocolates, intense 85% and 99% cocoa ganaches, as well as a variety of familiar flavours.
£25.95 - Available at Chocolate Trading Co°.
Get free delivery on orders over £35 (excluding sales and trade items). Use code WYS35 at the checkout. Shop at Chocolate Trading Company°
Ends on Sunday 31st December 2023. Terms and exclusions may apply. See website for details.
Save 10% on orders, excluding trade and sale products. Use code CHOCO10DEC23 at the checkout. Shop at Chocolate Trading Company°
Ends on Sunday 31st December 2023. Terms and exclusions may apply. See website for details.
11 Lily O'Brien's Chocolate Advent House
From Lily O'Brien's of Ireland comes this adorable Christmas advent calendar house. 24 boxes hide a total of 28 milk and dark chocolates, with each one weighing in on average at just under 14 grams. Eagle eyed readers will notice taller boxes on the 11th and 24th December, filled with more than one chocolate.
Expect to find delicious O'Brien favourites including Sticky Toffee, Trufflicious, Chocolate Orange, and Le Crunch. The chocolates are free from artificial colours and flavours, and are suitable for vegetarians too.
The house is a beautiful item which, with a bit of care, can be reused for several more years, refilling with fresh chocolate each time.
£25 - Shop here°.
Save 20% on your chocolate gifts. Exclusions apply. Use code LSZ20 at the checkout. Shop at Lily O'Brien's°
Ends on Thursday 27th August 2026. Terms and exclusions may apply. See website for details.
12 Chococo Chocolate Advent Selection Box
Breaking form with a boxed advent calendar with doors, Chococo has instead opted for a box of 25 fresh handmade chocolates with a vivid pink sleeve listing the dates of December. So you'll need to exercise self-restraint not to polish off the box all in one go.
This limited edition collection from Chococo includes a range of award-winning favourites, festive flavours, and new treats for 2018. The collection contains fresh cream chocolates although you'll chomp your way through these in the early days of December as they won't last long.
There's a long list of interesting flavour combinations from the traditional through to the more inspired. So you'll get classics like salted caramel, marzipan, coffee, and ginger, but you'll also get some zingy blends too. How about Guava and Coconut? Or Tawny Port and Fig? Or Cointreau and Kumquat? There's also an assortment of festive treats with Mince Pie and Gingerbread Caramel.
£23.50 - Shop here.
13 Prestat The Snowman Advent Calendar
Another Royal Warrant holder as manufacturers of chocolate for her Majesty The Queen is Prestat, so I couldn't leave them out of this list too.
The snowman-decorated box opens like a book, revealing a Christmas tale penned by WB Keeling Esq. There's also the small matter of the 24 windows hiding an assortment of caramel and sea salt milk and dark chocolates, averaging 10 grams a piece.
£22.50 - Shop here.
14 Artisan du Chocolat Count Down Sleeps Till Christmas
How good is your self-restraint? You're about to put it to the test with this chocolate box from Artisan du Chocolat. It's a round box of chocolates with each chocolate numbered 1 to 25 (well, 'Christmas Day' in that instance). Each day you can open the box and pick just one chocolate. There's no rule against inhaling the wonderful smell of chocolate though, right?
Each of the chocolates averages just under 9 grams, and you'll find an assortment of flavours, from raspberry or banana and caramel through to strawberry and biscuit, or honeycomb and popping candy.
The white lid is decorated with prancing reindeer and also, helpfully, includes a dial that you can turn to count up from 1 to 25 as you progress through December. If, like me, you easily forget which date it is, this will be super helpful.
£20 - Shop here.
15 Fornum & Mason Children's Chocolate Advent Calendar
Who cares that this cute advent calendar is aimed at children? Not me, and I am sure there are plenty of adults buying it for themselves.
This hexagonal-shaped advent calender contains 24 milk chocolate pieces, shaped as festive decorations and weighing, on average, just over 6 grams each.
The packaging depicts the Fortnum & Mason department store at 181 Piccadilly in St. James's, London, in a wintery scene .
£20 - Shop here°.
16 Godiva Chocolate Advent Calendar
Godiva is behind one of the rare calendars in this countdown that boasts 25 doors, and behind each one awaits a milk, dark, or white chocolate model or a milk chocolate square. The models appear to be a collection of cute little snowmen, Santa, and penguin figures.
On average, you will work your way through just over 7 grams of chocolate per day.
If blue is not your colour, there's an equally fetching red Godiva advent calendar available on Amazon°.
£20 - Shop here.
17 Abtey Chocolatier Chocolate Liqueur Advent Calendar
Christmas and tipples often go hand in hand, and this boozy advent calendar is a great excuse to count down to Christmas while enjoying the flavour of dark chocolate filled with a selection of premium liqueurs.
Expect the full-on flavours of cherry liqueur, Poire Williams brandy, Saint James rum, Label 5 whisky, Cointreau, and Camus VSOP cognac to greet you in the morning. Each one averages 12 grams and comes foil-wrapped as a cherry, pear, bottle, barrel, or in the case of the Cognac, as a glass.
As this one involves booze, you'll need to be aged 18+ to buy this.
£18.99 - Available at Friars.
18 Martin's Chocolatier Luxury Christmas Advent Calendar
Who can resist a Christmas tree-shaped advent calendar, especially one with such a beautiful picture on it? Luxury is the name of the game for Martin's Chocolatier, and this one ticks all the boxes. 24 dark, milk, and white chocolates straight from a selection of Belgian and British artisan chocolatiers, all presented in a sleek white triangle calendar, depicting a stag in snow.
The serving size is very generous on this one, with each chocolate weighing, on average, a whopping 13 grams.You'll find a variety of flavours to work through, including Marc de Champagne, nuts, coffee, spices, and fruits.
£18.25 - Shop here.
19 Gail's Advent Calendar
Strictly speaking, this advent calendar from Gail's Bakery of London isn't made by them. In fact, it's produced by Notting Hill-based Melt Chocolates and it comes with a sour twist. Well, a sourdough twist.
You see, the 24 chocolates that are hidden beneath an almost-minimalist facade of a white, line-drawn winter scene are very special indeed. Melt has blended caramelised Gail's French Dark Sourdough breadcrumbs into their milk and dark chocolate recipe. So you get a tangy-yet-sweet Sourdough taste that contrasts the smooth chocolatey taste. It all sounds rather delightful.
£18 - Shop here.
20 Nono Cocoa Vegan Superfood Advent Calendar
What strikes me about this vegan-friendly advent calendar is the really interesting flavours of the white and dark chocolates.
How about Raspberry & Beetroot? Or Matcha? Does Lemon & Turmeric take your fancy, or how about that festive favourite, Mulled Wine? From Chia Latte, and Pumpkin, Orange and Turmeric, through to more traditional flavours such as Cinnamon, Rose, or Madagascar Vanilla, there's plenty to get excited about here. You'll work through 24 chocolates weighing in at an average of more than 11½ grams each.
The Nono Cocoa advent calendar also has a long list of great qualities, including the fact it uses organic ingredients, it uses Fairtrade cocoa, it's Vegan certified, and it's free from gluten, dairy, nuts, yeast, artificial colours, preservatives, sulphides, and genetically modified organisms. Oh, and they don't use refined sugar either. And in case all that wasn't enough, these chocolates are handmade in small batches in London. This really is a feel-good advent calendar in many, many ways.
£18 - Shop here.
21 Friars Chocolate Truffle Advent Calendar
This calendar contains an assortment of white, milk, and dark chocolates from the Friars collection. Expect a mix of flavours including rum, Cointreau, milk chocolate truffles, caramels, pralines, champagne, and more.
The 24 chocolates, each averaging 15 grams, all come tucked inside a box printed with an image of a Christmas tree at the end of a snow-covered, tree-lined road.
£17.50 - Shop here.
22 Thorntons Rituals Advent Calendar
This brightly coloured honeycomb patchwork of snowflakes is what Thorntons has named the 'Rituals Advent Calendar'. Open it up to find two sides of chocolate stars, marzipan chocolate fruits, snowflakes and snowballs hidden beneath 24 doors.
At approximately 12 grams per chocolate, each of the milk, white and dark chocolate treats serves as a great start to the day. With flavours like Salted Fudge, Spiced Fudge, Cranberry Praline, and Gingerbread, to more vanilla flavours like the, well, White Chocolate with Vanilla Centre Snowflake, there's plenty of variety to keep December zipping along.
£12 - Shop here.
23 Green & Black's Luxury Chocolate Advent Calendar
Say hello to Green & Black's first ever advent calendar, and from the looks of it, this beautiful effort is destined to be the start of an annual product line. The on-brand box displays a foggy wintery scene while hiding 24 treats from the Green & Black's range.
Averaging around 10 grams per bite, there's a variety of individually-wrapped Dark 70%, Dark Sea Salt, Dark Salted Caramel and Milk Chocolate pralines hidden inside.
£10.99 - Shop here°.
24 House of Dorchester Christmas Characters Chocolate Advent Calendar
House of Dorchester's advent calendar stands out on this list as one of the most colourful. It's a bit different too, as chocolate bars replace doors. That might be a step too far, even for me, but the fact that each of the 25 bars weighs in at a tasty 10 grams, I can forgive its quirkiness.
Underneath each of the brightly decorated wrappers (themed as 'pets in hats') is a rectangle of milk chocolate made with a minimum of 33.5% cocoa solids and a minimum of 20.5% milk solids.
25 After Eight Big Ben Advent Calendar
Serious cuteness alert! I love this three-dimensional After Eight model of London's Big Ben (or Elizabeth Tower if you want to be pedantic) from Nestle.
Did you know that Britain consumes a staggering 280 million individual After Eight sweets each year? No, me neither.
But if, like me, you enjoy an After Eight mint post-dinner or with a cup of coffee, then this fun advent calender is for you. Beneath 24 doors hide a selection of dark, milk and white mint chocolates weighing in at just under approximately 8 grams each.
RRP: £10 - Available at Tesco. Also available at Amazon°.
26 Montezuma's Organic & Vegan Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar
240 grams over 24 days makes the maths nice and easy on this one. Each day between 1st and 24th December you can enjoy 10 grams of blended Organic 73% Cocoa Dark Chocolate.
The recipe used to create the chocolate combines cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, and natural vanilla flavouring (all organic of course) making this a perfect treat for those on a dairy free diet. That's a little win right there!
£9.99 - Shop here°.
27 Venchi Advent Calendar
This fun advent calendar comes from Italian chocolate brand, Venchi. The picture depicts an all-too familiar scene of a car laden with gifts for everybody. I'm sure many of us can relate to that scenario at this time of year.
This calendar boasts 25 windows hiding an assortment of milk and dark chocolates, that typically weigh in at just under 4½ grams each.
£9.90 - Shop here.
28 Divine Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar
It's one of the cheapest calendars on my list, but I wanted to include it for a number of reasons. It carries the Fairtrade logo, it is Vegan friendly, it's free of palm oil, the packaging is sustainable, and its got a sweet story behind it. 44% of Divine is owned by a co-operative of cocoa farmers in Ghana.
Behind each of the 24 doors is a 3½ gram woodland creature crafted from rich 70% dark chocolate using cocoa from Ghana.
£5 - Shop here.
29 Cadbury Heroes Advent Calendar
Christmas and Cadbury goes hand-in-hand in much the same way as Easter does. Building on the smaller Cadbury Daily Milk advent calendar is this larger, bulkier version featuring an assortment of brands from the Heroes collection.
Behind each of the 24 doors is a miniature version of a Creme Egg Twisted bar, a Wispa, a Twirl, a Dairy Milk block, Fudge, or an Eclair. On the final day you'll find a small, hollow Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate Santa figurine. On average, each daily treat comes in at just over 9½ grams.
£4.99 - Available at Cadbury Gifts Direct°.
30 The Sweet Reason Company Artisan Brownie Advent Calendar
Allow me, if you will, to veer slightly into a nearby world of brownie addiction. Much like chocolate addiction, brownie addiction has all the same hallmarks - we addicts look for taste, quality, and squishiness. I blame Paul A Young for kick-starting my brownie habit, but I am in no way complaining!
So when I stumbled across this whopping artisan brownie advent calendar from The Sweet Reason Company, I knew I had to include it here, even if it strictly isn't mostly chocolate. That's why it sits here at the very end of my list, so chocolate advent calendar purists need not read any further.
But for those of us with a penchant for delicious brownies, look no further than this bad boy that weighs in at a massive 1.8 kilograms! 25 bundles of joy sit inside a cardboard box with each one labelled with a number to correspond with the date. There's 80-90 gram slabs of Millionaire's Shortbread, fruit cake, and flapjack nested amongst a sea of 40-45 gram brownie bites. Flavours include mince pie, mojito, chocolate orange, Baileys, salted caramel, honeycomb, coconut, Oreo, and peanut butter.
Insert the sound of me drooling right here.
£69 - Shop here.
Which advent calendar will you be buying and why? Let me know in the comments below.