Cast your mind back just a little bit and you might remember the quirky emergency chocolate supply box of chocolates by vegan and free-from chocolate specialist, Nono Cocoa. It was a fun product that grabbed my attention the moment I cast my eyes upon it.
Now, the team has created an advent calendar. Its heritage is rooted in the Nono Cocoa advent calendar I reviewed in 2018, but the presentation this year is bigger and better. This year, team Nono's advent calendar is a 3D model of a Christmas house!
In this article:
I carefully unboxed the postal box and lifted out the seemingly-delicate Christmas house advent calendar. I peeled back the tissue paper to reveal the house in all it's glory. Just like the emergency supply box of chocolates, this put a smile on my face. It's fun, whimsical, and beautifully engineered.
The three-dimensional house has a dozen doors (or windows, depending on your preference) to the front and rear, meaning 24 tasty treats to see me through December.
As I'm a curious (or nosey) chocolate blogger, I took a peek inside to see how it fits together. It's cleverly designed, with two card trays of chocolates back-to-back inside, sealed by the strip that forms the roofline and chimney. This has the added benefit of being fully recyclable, as it's entirely made of card.
"The world is our home" is the messaging on the front of the red and white house, and is a nod to this year's theme of unification and both personal and collective responsibility. In a blog post, Nono Cocoa's founder Alessandra Bester explains how 2020 and 2021 was dominated by negative headlines covering Brexit, the Coronavirus pandemic, loneliness and dwindling mental health, illness and death, extreme weather (including devastating wildfires, volcano eruptions and flooding), segregation, racism, and discrimination. The message Nono Cocoa seeks to convey through its advent calendar is that "the world is our home, and we are equally responsible for taking care of it".
To that end, the decoration on the Christmas house unites illustrations of major landmarks from around the planet, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Christ the Redeemer, the Burj al Arab, the Eiffel Tower, and more.
That leads us nicely onto the flavours, which also draw inspiration from around the world.
Nono Cocoa Christmas House Advent Calendar Review
The folded paper menu card is affixed to the base of the house, and documents 24 flavours:
- Strawberry Cup – Poland
- Pineapple & Toasted Coconut – Brazil
- Rose & Di-mannose – Bulgaria
- Pandan & Lemongrass – Thailand
- Dark Cacao & Nibs – Colombia
- Mini Coconut Milk – Sir Lanka
- Dark Chocolate Cherry – USA
- Saffron, Turmeric & Orange – Iran
- Moringa & Apple – Philippines
- Raspberry - Serbia
- Limoncello Star – Italy
- Blue Matcha Tea – Japan
- Mint & Lime Mojito – Havana
- Baobab & Poppy Seeds – Ghana
- Dark Coffee Cup – Vietnam
- Cardamon & Lemon – Guatemala
- Salted Caramel - France
- Ginger & Lemon – India
- Blood Orange – Spain-Seville
- Blue Marzipan – Germany
- Mince Pie – UK & Ireland
- Cinnamon & Orange – Indonesia
- Fig Jam - Egypt
- Mulled Wine – Greece
As you'll know if you've heard of social enterprise, Nono Cocoa, all their chocolates are free from gluten, dairy, nuts, alcohol, yeast, artificial colours, preservatives, sulphides, GMO, and refined sugar. They're also free from the top 14 allergens. What's more, these chocolates are handmade in small batches by people with autism and special needs.
I've already had the pleasure of sampling some of these flavours, so have linked to those reviews above. But there are some new flavours I'm eager to try. So, over the course of December, I worked my way through the remainder and have shared my feedback below.
Dark Cacao & Nibs
As you might expect, dark chocolate vibes are the order of the day here. A thick shell leads the way, adding an intense cocoa flavour minus any bitterness. The flavour, and the slight graininess of the centre's texture, reminds me of a chocolate brownie. Vanilla notes come through towards the end develop in the aftertaste. I really enjoyed the flavour of this one.
Mini Coconut Milk
This chocolate reminds me a little of Lalinda’s Coconut Cream from the Emergency Chocolate Supply box. It serves up notes of dedicated coconut in the aroma and in the flavour, set against a sweet and creamy background. The coconut flavour lingers into the aftertaste too.
Moringa & Apple
My first question was what's moringa? Moringa Oleifera (otherwise known as a 'drumstick tree') is a trendy superfood, and according to Vogue, tastes like "tastes like matcha spiked with spirulina-like blue-green algae."
This bonbon has a white chocolate aroma, with sweet and creamy notes on the top line. A crunchy, thick shell reveals a tart and tangy flavour. I didn't initially pick up the apple vibes, but these develop mostly towards the end of the tasting and through into the aftertaste.
Baobab & Poppy Seeds
A white chocolate aroma arises from this dotty cube. Texturally, it's crunchy with a clear seed flavour at the forefront, which borders on notes of sesame. Baobab adds a slight citrus zing to the mix. The poppy seed flavour develops mostly in the aftertaste.
Dark Coffee Cup
A dark chocolate aroma from the thick shell masks the espresso-like favour hidden inside, complete with a crunchy whole roasted coffee bean for good measure. It's rich and bitter in equal measures and it captures the qualities of an espresso perfectly. It's similar to the Greek Coffee Cup in the Emergency box.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the best chocolate in the box. Its mild cinnamon aroma hadn't prepared me for how much a perfect match this is. A thick shell hides a soft inner, and the true flavour - and texture - of mincemeat. The flavour match is uncanny, and this chocolate feels suitably festive and satisfying in equal measures. I'd happily work through a box of these alone.
Cinnamon & Orange
The cinnamon aroma from the shell teases a subtle citrus twist, which is revealed when you bite through the chocolate. This crunchy bite contains a tangy citrus centre, with clear flavours of spiced orange coming through. The flavour reminds me of that of mulled wine, so this flavour duo feels right at home in this advent calendar. Orange dominates the aftertaste with cinnamon undertones.
The dark chocolate aroma sets the tone for this bite, as its that flavour that dominates from start to finish. The flavour of fig struggles to shine beyond the dark chocolates in the tasting and aftertaste. There's a slight bitterness to the chocolate too, which the filling is powerless to curb.
Nono Cocoa Christmas House Advent Calendar Review
RRP: £30.00 | Nono Cocoa | Shop now
I love the presentation, and the message behind this year's advent calendar by Nono Cocoa. A wide variety of flavours means every day is different, and I like the assortment of textures and designs too. The mince pie chocolate definitely has to be tried to be believed.
Where to Buy Online
You can buy the 340g Christmas house advent calendar direct from Nono Cocoa here (£30), while stocks last.
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Which advent calendar have you picked for 2021? Let me know in a comment below.