Last year, I was very impressed with the Neuhaus 3D advent calendar. This cheerfully large box contained a 25 day challenge. As I lifted open each door, it addsedto a three-dimensional Christmas diorama. Chocolate and art all packaged in one beautiful package.
Once again, this lovely advent calendar is back again this year, this time with a new diorama, new box decorations, and an extra feel-good factor for 2020, as I discuss below.
You can't help but notice that this is a beast of an advent calendar. Laid flat, it measures 41cm in length, 31cm in depth, and nearly 4cm in height. This is how you'll display it to build your diorama, so you'll need to find somewhere suitable to house it for a month. It simply begs to take pride of place in your living room or kitchen.
The deep red box features an illustration of a father out walking at night with his child, with a golden lamp in hand. A squirrel and fox flank a forest of Christmas trees that glisten with gold-foiled decoration. A swooshing star mimics bushy tinsel wrapping around one of the trees. It's a lovely wintery scene with shooting stars overhead. I particularly like the Neuhaus logo that's hidden inside the lamp.
The reverse of the box with an overwhelming amount of text. The ingredients and nutritional information is printed in English, French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, and Arabic, demonstrating the global appeal of this product.
Neuhaus Pop-up Advent Calendar 2020 ingredients:
Milk chocolate (sugar, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soy lecithins), flavour), dark chocolate (cocoa mass, sugar, butter oil (milk), cocoa butter, emulsifier (soy lecithins), flavour), sugar, hazelnuts, glucose syrup, white chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, emulsifier (soy lecithins), flavouring), cocoa mass, butter (milk), cocoa butter, marzipan (almonds, sugar, stabiliser (glycerol of rapeseed), sorbitols of maize, dextrose), cream (milk), whole milk powder, caramel paste (glucose fructose syrup, sweetened condensed milk (milk, sugar), coconut fat, water, stabiliser (glycerol of rapeseed), emulsifier (soy lecithins), salt), almond paste, almonds, stabiliser (glycerol of rapeseed), butter oil (milk), nougat (sugar, glucose syrup, almonds, honey, cocoa butter, potato starch, egg white, flavouring), coconut fat, shea butter, honey, skimmed milk, puffed rice (rice flour, sugar, salt, cocoa butter), raspberry, sunflower oil, butter biscuit (wheat flour, sugar, butter (milk), egg, wheat starch, salt, raising agent (ammonium carbonates)), stabiliser (sorbitols of wheat), candy syrup, water, invert sugar syrup, whole milk, flavours, emulsifier (soy lecithins), mono and diglycerides of fatty acids, dextrose, caramelised sugar, coffee, stabiliser (sorbitols of maize), salt, sugar syrup, Guérande sea salt, vanilla, citric acid, corn oil, colour (curcumin). Cocoa solids: 70% minimum (extra dark chocolate); 55% minimum (dark chocolate); 35% minimum (milk chocolate); 25% minimum (white chocolate). Milk solids: 25% minimum (milk chocolate); 22.7% minimum (white chocolate).
There's a warning that this calendar "may contain traces of other nuts, groundnuts and sesame." Sugar levels for this product sit at around 43% on average.
The box hides 25 chocolates weighing in at 331g, although the package weighs in at around 1.2kg in total. That means, on average, each day nets you 13g of Belgian chocolate treats.
Neuhaus Pop-up Advent Calendar 2020 Review
Lift the lid and two pieces of red board pull out to prop it open. This isn't an advent calendar you hang on the wall - it lies flat like a box of chocolates, which is why you'll need around 41cm by 31cm in available surface space.
The board to hold the lid up is decorated with Christmas tree illustrations and forms the backdrop to an emerging festive scene as you progress through December. The red and gold-foil scheme used on the outside of the box continues inside.
As you lift open the door each day to reveal the chocolate beneath, it adds a puzzle piece to your festive diorama. It culminates on Christmas day with the final addition of a large Christmas Tree at the front and centre of the scene.
Over 25 days of December, you'll work your way through a selection of Neuhaus chocolate bonbons. Here's the menu in alphabetical order (so as not to spoil the surprises each day in case you're planning to get this calendar).
- Albert - Dark chocolate with a hazelnut praline and a roasted caramelised Piedmont hazelnut.
- Art Deco 70% - Dark chocolate with a Californian almond praline and nougat pieces.
- Bloc Gianduja - Hazelnut gianduja.
- Canasta - Faro marzipan in dark chocolate.
- Caprice - Nougatine filled with vanilla cream inside dark chocolate.
- Coeur Praliné - Milk chocolate with almond and hazelnut praline.
- Cornet Doré - Hazelnut gianduja.
- Criollo 70% - Dark chocolate with fresh butter.
- Désir 64% - Nougatine filled with a dark Peruvian chocolate ganache inside dark chocolate.
- Divine - Soft caramel and Piedmont hazelnut nibs inside milk chocolate.
- Galerie - Guérandé sea salted caramel ganache inside dark chocolate.
- Horta - Milk chocolate with a Californian almond praline and nougat pieces.
- Jean 64% - Dark chocolate with a Peruvian dark chocolate ganache.
- Louise - Milk chocolate with a Java milk chocolate ganache.
- Mathilde - Crunchy praliné à l'ancienne with almond and hazelnut and Poperinge hops in dark chocolate.
- Méphisto - Milk chocolate with almond and hazelnut praline and caramelised hazelnut nibs.
- Millénaire - Milk chocolate with a crisped rice gianduja filling.
- Millionnaire - White chocolate with a crisped rice gianduja filling.
- Passion Amande - Guérande sea salted caramelised almond praline in white chocolate.
- Philippe - Sombreffe honey and crunchy praline with Belgian waffles inside milk chocolate.
- Plaisir - Nougatine filled with Piedmont hazelnut ganache inside milk chocolate.
- Prestige - Milk chocolate with a caramel centre.
- Séduction - Nougatine filled with raspberry cream inside dark chocolate.
- Suzanne - Raspberry ganache on a layer of ganache inside dark chocolate.
- Tentation - Nougatine filled with Arabica coffee ganache inside milk chocolate.
I enjoyed working through my calendar last year and intend to do the same this year. However, I might have taken a peek inside and some chocolates might have already disappeared. Oops.
As was the case last year, the size of these chocolates is very generous, especially the likes of the triangular Séduction, Caprice, Tentation, Désir 64%, and Plaisir. These two-bite nougatine chocolate bonbons feels especially lavish and make for very good days in December.
On the whole, these are sweet bites weighted towards nutty pralines with milk and dark chocolates. There's a few other interesting pieces in the collection, such as Philippe with its honey and Belgian waffle pieces, Tentation with its coffee ganache, and Séduction with its raspberry cream. But if you're not a fan of hazelnuts or almonds with chocolate then you might be disappointed. If, like me, you love these Belgian classics, then you'll really enjoy working through this box.
Once again, Neuhaus has included a few pretty shapes into the mix. I especially love the cacao pod shape of the Criollo 70% and the ice cream cone shape of Cornet Doré and am so glad to see these return for 2020.
So, in a nutshell you get an assortment of full-size Belgian chocolates presented in a beautiful rouge box that transforms into a piece of festive artwork over the course of December. But this year, Neuhaus has added an extra feel-good factor to their Pop-up Advent Calendar. For each Pop-up Advent calendar sold, Neuhaus will make a donation to the Make-A-Wish in Belgium. The Foundation seeks to grant life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses, so is a wonderfully worthy cause.
When I asked Neuhaus about this, they predicted a donation of between €20,000 and €30,000 from retail sales alone. The company also donates chocolate to Make-A-Wish Belgium for use in its fundraising efforts, and it's also enabling its business-to-business clients to donate to Make-A-Wish this year too.
Neuhaus Pop-up Advent Calendar 2020 Review
RRP: £56.00 | Neuhaus | Shop now
Similar to last year's calendar, with a feel good message and just as much wow factor. Building the scene adds a playful element to this grown-up and sophisticated luxury advent calendar. The chocolates are very generously sized too, even if they are a little on the sweet side. Overall, a very impressive advent calendar once again this year, with the addition of support for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Bravo Neuhaus!
Where to Buy Online
You'll also find the Neuhaus Classic Advent Calendar for 2020 here too. It features a more limited selection of chocolates and it lacks the wow factor of the pop-up variant (as well as the contribution to the Make-A-Wish Foundation), but is more keenly priced at €31. This 310g advent calendar is also available at Harrods here° (£28) and Amazon here°.
Will you be creating a festive diorama with this Neuhaus advent calendar this year? Let me know in the comments below.