If you have followed my chocolate blog for a while now, you'll know about my obsession with Nibblette's handiwork. Beautiful artistry paired with clear flavours have led to many impressive results, from the 12-Piece Chocolate Selection Box through to the Monthly Subscription Box service.
Now, there's an advent calendar. Befitting of beautiful bonbons, this one draws on the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) for design inspiration on the outside, and on traditional festive flavours for the inside. Come and take a peek at my calendar to see why Nibblette's advent calendar NEEDS to be on your shopping list next year.
In this article:
- Nibblette Advent Calendar Review
- Pumpkin Spice
- Colombian Coffee Latte
- Maple Bacon
- Mont Blanc
- Cinnamon and Star Anise
- Chocolate Orange
- Mint Crisp
- Maple Pecan
- Hazelnut Praline
- Blood Orange with Almond & Cardamom Praline
- Cinnamon Bun
- Black Sesame & Peanut
- Double Raspberry
- Speculaas Crunch
- Pecan Pie
- Vanilla Caramel
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
- Mango & Passion Fruit
- Raspberry & Pistachio
- Dark Hazelnut Praline
- Muscovado Caramel
- Where to Buy Online
My Nibblette advent calendar arrived packaged inside a white postal carton. A red sticker asking for the postie to handle with care hopefully protected the delicate chocolates inside from aggressive handling, while the bronze sticker reading "North Pole Express Delivery" added a touch of whimsy.
Inside, the calendar was delicately wrapped in tissue paper and was snug in its postal box, ensuring the bonbons remained in place during transit. I peeled back the paper to reveal this magnificent specimen.
Its one of my favourite advent calendars for 2021, and deservedly so. I love the bespoke Northern Lights-inspired artwork that decorates the front of the calendar. Soft pinks, oranges, blues and purples create an illustration of a wintery forest scene, flanked by the dazzling Aurora Borealis. It instantly transports me back to Norway where I first saw the lights in person (although they weren't as colourful as Nibblette's depiction, with ethereal waves of faint green set against the black sky).
Gold foiled text reads "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year", while large numbers (also in gold foil print) make it easy to reveal each day's special treat. No reading glasses necessary here!
As you'd expect, the rear of the box contains the ingredients list. There's also a couple of fold out legs so you can stand this advent calender up on its own, rather than having to prop it up against a wall. It's a thoughtful feature that helps present this calendar perfectly.
Nibblette Advent Calendar ingredients:
Cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural vanilla extract, whole milk powder, barley malt extract, dried skimmed milk powder, whey butter, raspberry powder, whipping cream, nuts (pecan nuts, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts), black sesame seeds, what flour, milk sugar, milk proteins, raspberry puree, mango puree, blood orange puree, passion fruit puree, chestnut puree, maple syrup, maple bacon seasoning (Maltodextrin, sugar, yeast extract, maize starch, natural flavouring, spices (paprika, pimento), onion powder, garlic powder, caramelised sugar powder, flavouring, smoked salt, hydrolysed vegetable protein), vegetable oil, sodium hydrogen carbonate, soya flour, strong white flour, yeast, egg, spices (vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, coriander seed, allspice, star anise, nutmeg, clove, cardamom), Colombian coffee, glucose, invert sugar, water sea salt, sorbitol, pectin, citric acid, raising agents (bicarbonate of soda, malic acid, ammonium bicarbonate), natural flavouring (mint oil, orange oil), food colours (E133, E132, E129, E102, E110, E171, E555). Cocoa solids: 66% (dark chocolate); 47% (vegan milk) minimum.
The calendar is suitable for vegetarians. Bonbons are made using ingredients that contain soy, nuts, gluten, sesame, wheat, and milk. The colours used in these bonbons carry the warning that they "may have an adverse effect on the attention and activity in children". Truth be told, these chocolates are far too pretty and too flavoursome to let anywhere near children!
Nibblette Advent Calendar Review
Some people like a surprise, but I love finding a menu card that teases what I've got to look forward to savouring. I was happy to see a glossy A5 menu card, detailing all 24 flavours.
There's a lovely mix here of classic and seasonal flavours. Feel Christmasy with the likes of Chocolate Orange, Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon Bun, Stollen, Speculaas Crunch, Gingerbread, and Cinnamon and Star Anise. There's also a couple of curve balls, such as Maple Bacon, Black Sesame and Peanut, and Peanut Butter and Jelly, that showcases what Nibblette does best - playful gastronomic creativity.
I had the pleasure of sampling Cinnamon Bun, Peanut Butter and Jelly and Pecan Pie as part of Nibblette's American-themed subscription box. Both Pecan Pie and Cinnamon Bun were my favourites in that box, so I relished the opportunity to devour these delicious bites again this month.
The remaining flavours were all new to me, so I was eager for Christmas to come as fast as possible, so I could work my way through them all!
Here's what I revealed in my calendar.
1 Pumpkin Spice
My favourite Autumnal flavour has to be pumpkin spice (a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves). Yes, it gets added to a multitude of products and by the time the festive season works its way around, nearly everyone is fed up with the flavour - but not this guy!
I think it works best in two applications - coffee and chocolate. Here, Nibblette crafts a spiced silky ganache. The fragrance of the spices sit front and centre, but courteously take a step back mid-way through the tasting to let the chocolate flavours come through. It's a sweet bite, with bags of creaminess and is deeply satisfying.
2 Colombian Coffee Latte
I love coffee chocolates, and I was curious to see how Nibblette's version, featuring Columbian coffee paired with caramelised white chocolate, compared to Lick the Spoon's Café Bronde Caramelised Milk Chocolate Bar I recently reviewed. Here, a creamy, milky, caramel aroma teases what's inside. The coffee flavour is very delicate, allowing the buttery caramel notes to clearly come through alongside. A white chocolate flavour lingers in the aftertaste as the subtle coffee notes subside.
3 Maple Bacon
I love unusual flavour combinations, and while maple bacon isn't unusual, pairing it with chocolate most definitely is (or at least it is on this side of the pond!). This curious combination of sweet and savoury packs a punch, and definitely divides opinion. It's on a par with Paul A Young's Marmite truffle in that regard. The flavour reminds me of smokey bacon crisps, with a bacon flavour blended with sweet maple notes and a hint of saltiness. It's a bold, unmistakeable flavour and it lingers long into the aftertaste.
4 Mont Blanc
The name doesn't give much away but this is a chestnut-infused ganache layered with vanilla, with a pretty snowflake design on the top. Again, chestnut is a quintessential flavour of winter, and is my go-to for adding to home-made stuffing for my Christmas Dinner. Here, Nibblette uses it in a sweet context, alongside vanilla, which dominates in the flavour from start to finish. Bordering on boozy characteristics, the flavour combination is warming and comforting, and both sweet and creamy. It certainly evokes festive good cheer and it works very well.
5 Cinnamon and Star Anise
I was looking forward to this one as it's a flavour pairing that I wouldn't instinctively thought about, but reading about it made so much sense. The aroma is full of Christmas spirit, and conjures up vivid imagery of mulled wine in my head. It's a rich, dense bite where the festive spices sit front and centre. They linger long into the aftertaste along side the satisfaction and joy from eating this delightfully decadent chocolate bonbon.
You can't have a countdown to Christmas without gingerbread, and this bonbon makes use of a charming reindeer mould to make it extra special. Here, a caramelised white chocolate ganache pairs with spices inside a milk chocolate shell. This is on form, with clear festive flavours right from the start. Nibblette plays with flavours and textures to create a soft, buttery centre with a little bite. The gingerbread flavour is subtle but develops throughout the tasting. Into the aftertaste, dark chocolate notes dominate, blended with hints of creaminess and the lingering spiced fragrance.
7 Chocolate Orange
Terry's' version might well be a ubiquitous sight this Christmas, but Nibblette's version gives it a run for its money. The dark chocolate aroma doesn't hint at what lies inside. Zesty orange notes sit front and centre against a rich and indulgent chocolate backdrop. This is a harmony of two flavours, and so the orange flavour steps aside to allow the satisfying flavours of the chocolate to come through. It's perfectly balanced, and a great way to start the day.
A loaf of Stollen is a Christmas staple in Chocolatier.co.uk HQ, with its core of marzipan surrounded by spiced bread studded with nuts, candied peel, and dried fruit. This bonbon draws inspiration from this, although reminds me more of gingerbread than stollen. It begins with a soft texture with just a little bit of bite. Ginger flavours dominate, although this settles down to let the other flavours hum away, creating a buttery, cake-like flavour with a subtle nuttiness in the fray too. Ginger dominates in the aftertaste too, with cake vibes sitting closely behind.
9 Mint Crisp
Dark chocolate and mint is a time tested classic combination. You only have to peruse the festive aisle in your nearest supermarket to find a wealth of mint flavour chocolates. This bonbon serves up an aroma of dark chocolate punctuated with fresh minty notes. Inside, a soft mint fondant is spiked with a light helping of crispy pieces, with the dark chocolate shell helping to ground the sweetness and add richness to the affair. The aftertaste is fresh and balanced.
10 Maple Pecan
A thick base supports two layers of ganache. The pecan flavour dominates, with maple swirling around as a supporting act, toying with the rich milk chocolate flavour. I like the addition of a slight bit of crunch from the nuts in the recipe, which adds another dimension to the bonbon. As you'd expect, it's the delicious buttery pecan flavour that lingers into the aftertaste.
11 Hazelnut Praline
Delicious caramel aromas emanate from this bonbon, and rich hazelnut flavours dominate the flavour. Those caramel aromas work their way into the flavour to this bonbon's credit. A crispy texture plays on the hazelnut's characteristics. Into the aftertaste, it's the delicious flavour of toasted hazelnut that lingers for a long while afterwards.
12 Blood Orange with Almond & Cardamom Praline
This is quite a fun bonbon, with the deep orange flavour coming through first. Just as it begins to subside a little, a tangy cardamom jelly peeks its head through. The duo create a lovely flavour combo, with the dark chocolate adding richness into the mix. A clean, spiced citrus flavour lingers in the aftertaste.
13 Cinnamon Bun
I was fortunate enough to taste this in Nibblette's monthly subscription box in September and I described it as "a true taste of Americana". It was my second favourite bonbon in the box, sitting just behind Pecan Pie (see below). The second time around, it was just as tasty.
A cinnamon aroma teases what's in store as you bite into this bonbon. Break the crisp shell and you'll find a thick caramel layered with a silky ganache. There's plenty of buttery, caramel vibes going on, with enough cinnamon to add flavour and fragrance without it overpowering. As a parting gift, you're left with a subtle cinnamon spiced caramel aftertaste.
14 Black Sesame & Peanut
A few months ago, I needed to use up some sesame seeds so I made a batch of home-made sesame brittle. It was surprisingly a doddle to make, and I then nibbled in disbelief as the flavour practically mirrored the flavour of the shop-bought bars I've devoured over the years, such as Sesame Snaps.
As I bit into this bonbon, my mind floated back to that very moment. The captivating aroma of toasted sesame is present from the very beginning right through into the aftertaste. This bonbon is dense, and the chocolate adds a pleasant richness. The peanut flavour works as an enhancer, adding a nutty depth but allowing the sesame to take all the glory.
15 Double Raspberry
In a previous Nibblette Chocolate Selection Box I was fortunate to sample, the Double Raspberry bonbon captured my heart. It was a playful bonbon that balanced tartness, bitterness, sweetness, and textures to create something both delicious and memorable. Here, I had another opportunity to sample this joyous bonbon and it still delivers. Layers of raspberry jelly and tart raspberry jam work beautifully well against the dark chocolate shell to create a tasty, fruity sensation.
16 Speculaas Crunch
Speculaas (or spéculoos) is one of my all-time favourite flavours of Christmas. The spiced biscuit is incredibly popular over on the continent, and seems to be growing in popularity here in Blighty. This rich, dense bonbon reminds me of a Speculaas cheesecake, in part thanks to the crunchy, cheesecake-like biscuit base layer. Combined with the subtly spiced ganache, you've got a dessert in a bonbon.
17 Pecan Pie
Oh, Pecan Pie. How I missed you. This bonbon is a wondrous affair, with a smooth, creamy pecan ganache complimenting a soft biscuit base. The soft, buttery pecan flavour sits in centre stage, where it belongs. This light bite leaves a delicate pecan flavour to develop into the aftertaste. It's delicious, and ranks very highly in my favourite bonbons conjured up by Nibblette.
18 Vanilla Caramel
A sweet vanilla aroma prepares you for the dominant vanilla notes in the thick and gooey caramel that resides inside this chocolate shell. The creamy milk chocolate helps to enhance the caramel and vanilla notes in this bonbon, and it's the caramel flavour that lingers into the aftertaste.
19 Peanut Butter & Jelly
If you love the combination of peanuts and chocolate, you'll enjoy Nibblette's take on a classic American favourite - PB&J. The flavour of roasted peanut kicks things off, aided by the sweetness and creaminess from the chocolate. A layer of berry jelly adds a novel twist, introducing a little sweetness and an extra dimension that awakens this flavour combination. Chocolate peanut notes linger into the aftertaste.
A nutty aroma invites you to take a bite, and as you do so, you reveal a delicate, soft and light green centre, with a gentle pistachio flavour that develops throughout the tasting. The creamy chocolate works well with this flavour, and leads the tasting into the aftertaste, where an undertone of pistachio develops further.
21 Mango & Passion Fruit
A fruity chocolate aroma teases the flavour of this chocolate. Curiously, I pictured raspberry jam when I bit into it. That's not a bad thing, though, as I picked up the sweet, tart characteristics and my mind wandered straight to raspberry jam. Fear not though, as the mango and passion fruit flavours develop towards the end of the tasting and into the aftertaste, adding a tropical twist.
22 Raspberry & Pistachio
Pistachio comes through first in this dense green ganache. Tart notes courtesy of the raspberry jam awaken mid-way into the tasting, adding a fruity dimension to this nutty chocolate. As the flavours develop, tangy raspberry sits over a deep, rich pistachio baseline.
23 Dark Hazelnut Praline
If, like me, you love the classic combination of delicious chocolate and rich, toasted hazelnuts, then this bonbon is definitely something that will excite you. Crunchy, crispy and nutty, it has everything you could wish for in a chocolate. Caramelised hazelnut flavours dominate, adding sweetness, richness and depth, especially towards the end of the tasting. Overall, this one is very rich but equally very satisfying.
24 Muscovado Caramel
A gloriously thick caramel awaits you in this bonbon. It's quite light to begin with, but develops and intensifies during the tasting. The sweet caramel contrasts the dark chocolate shell with its mildly bitter qualities to create balance and harmony. What begins quite light ends up quite dark, and so you're left with a heady deep caramel flavour in the aftertaste.
Nibblette Advent Calendar Review
RRP: £42.95 | Nibblette | Shop now
For a luxurious advent calendar where every day presents a new and interesting tasty treat, look no further than Nibblette's offering. I love the presentation of the calendar and of the bonbons, and the flavours are all clear, concise, and expertly balanced. There's a mix of festive flavours here together with traditional recipes, ticking the box on variety. No two days are the same, yet the quality is consistently excellent.
Where to Buy Online
2021's advent calendar is no longer available to purchase, although you can buy Christmas selection boxes that include some of the same flavours. Choose from the regular Christmas collection or the vegan chocolate Christmas collection. You'll find both options here.
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Which advent calendar is seeing you through December this year? Let me know in the comments below.