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The advent calendar features a snowy scene, with a road leading to a brightly-lit Christmas tree. 24 gold-foiled numbered doors (or windows) hide a daily chocolate surprise to be enjoyed from 1st December in the run-up to Christmas.
She kindly sent over her latest creation - an advent calendar for 2020. Filled with 24 chocolate bonbons in assorted flavours, it's perhaps one of the most prettiest - and tastiest - ways to countdown to Christmas.
Come with me as we navigate through December in the medium of chocolate art.
The Painted Peacock Advent Calendar Review
The advent calendar box itself is an off-the-shelf product that several chocolatiers have opted to use in recent years. It's a great way to test the waters with launching a chocolate advent calendar, and the Meridian Packaging design is one I'm fond of, with a picture of a Christmas tree set in a snowy scene, finished with gold-foiled numbers.
In this particular case, the concept might need tinkering with slightly for next year. The height of the box compared to the bonbons meant that most had slipped out of the tray, with some bonbons suffering chips, bumps and scrapes during transit. I easily broke up the huddle by sliding the tray out and sorting the bonbons back out. However, every time I stood the calendar up, they all fell back down again.
It's not a problem and just a niggle. A cushion pad or two might prevent the bonbons from bumping into one another during transit, and lying an advent calendar down isn't too much of a hardship, especially at this size. Besides, I suspect we may well see a bespoke advent calendar in gorgeous The Painted Peacock brand colours soon, given the success of the calendars this year.
Alongside the advent calendar is a folded menu leaflet, with details of what flavours are inside, together with the ingredients list, allergen details, dietary information and storage instructions.
The Painted Peacock Advent Calendar 2020 ingredients:
Dark chocolate (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soy lecithin), vanilla extract), milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, cocoa mass, emulsifier (soy lecithin), vanilla extract), white chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, emulsifier (soy lecithin), natural vanilla flavour), cream, butter, water, glucose syrup, vegetable fat, sugar, milk powder, coconut, earl grey tea (black tea, orange peel, lemon peel, cornflower petals, hibiscus, sunflower petals, rose petals, mallow flowers), coffee, fresh mint, orange juice, orange peel, passion fruit puree, raspberry puree, pistachios, almonds, pink peppercorns, rose petals, rose essence, basil seeds, chilli flakes, ginger, cardamom, pink Himalayan salt, cinnamon, black pepper, white pepper, nutmeg, clove, star anise, fennel, vanilla, coconut sugar, salt, Polysorbate 80 (E433), colours (cocoa butter, spirulina powder, concentrate (sweet potato, radish, cherry, apple, blackcurrant, carrot, hibiscus, safflower, lemon, pumpkin, spirulina), Maltodextrin, sugar, potassium aluminium silicate based iron oxide, corn starch, antioxidant (citric acid), E101, E102, E110, E120, E122, E129, E132, E133, E555, E171, E172). Cocoa solids: 60% minimum (dark chocolate); 70% minimum (dark chocolate); 45% minimum (milk chocolate); 34% minimum (white chocolate).
These bonbons are made in a kitchen that handles dairy, gluten, sesame and nut products. They are suitable for vegetarians and are gluten-free, egg-free and alcohol-free. They're also Halal and Kosher, although aren't certified. There's a notice that E102, E110, E122 and E129 may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children, although I'd argue these bonbons are far too good to be sharing with the kids!
I've already reviewed the Mint, Passion Fruit, Rose, Coconut, Peppercorn, Ginger, Himalayan Salt, and 70% Dark bonbons, and you can find out my thoughts on these here. This advent calendar offers me the chance to try a selection of new flavours.
You're in for a real treat here. Just take a look at these beauties.
The advent calendar features 24 chocolate bonbons spanning 15 flavour varieties. In total, the line-up looks like this:
- 60% Dark Chocolate - A 60% dark chocolate shell with a dark chocolate ganache.
- 70% Dark Chocolate (vegan) - A 70% dark chocolate shell with a soft dark chocolate ganache.
- Chai Spice - A 34% white chocolate shell containing a Chai spiced milk chocolate ganache.
- Chilli - A chilli spiced dark chocolate ganache inside a 70% dark chocolate shell.
- Coconut - A dark chocolate and coconut ganache inside a 70% dark chocolate shell.
- Coffee and Cardamom - A 70% dark chocolate shell with a dark coffee and cardamom ganache.
- Falooda - A white chocolate ganache with basil seeds inside a 34% white chocolate shell.
- Fresh Mint - A 45% milk chocolate shell with a soft mint-infused milk chocolate ganache.
- Ginger - A 70% dark chocolate shell hiding a ginger-infused dark chocolate ganache.
- Himalayan Salt and Almond (vegan) - A 70% dark chocolate shell surrounding a Himalayan-salted roasted-almond ganache.
- Mulling Spice - A 45% milk chocolate shell containing a mulled spice milk chocolate ganache.
- Passion Fruit - A 60% dark chocolate shell with a passion fruit white chocolate ganache.
- Pink Peppercorn and Pistachio (vegan) - A soft pink peppercorn and roasted pistachio ganache inside a 70% dark chocolate shell.
- Raspberry - A 60% dark chocolate shell filled with both a raspberry gel and a raspberry ganache.
- Rose and Pistachio (vegan) - A 70% dark chocolate shell with a rose petal and roasted pistachio ganache.
60% Dark Chocolate
- What is it? A 60% dark chocolate shell with a dark chocolate ganache.
- What does it taste like? Dark, buttery and fruity is the order of the day in this pretty blue and green bonbon. It's a dense, rich, indulgent and completely satisfying bite that leaves a rich and fruity aftertaste.
- What is it? A 34% white chocolate shell containing a Chai spiced milk chocolate ganache.
- What does it taste like? This sweet and creamy bonbon perfectly encapsulates the flavour of a Masala Chai tea. It is delicately spiced so it gentle on the palate, yet accurately and faithfully recreates the flavour profile of the drink. The spices fade into the aftertaste, leaving a creamy cocoa aftertaste.
- What is it? A chilli spiced dark chocolate ganache inside a 70% dark chocolate shell.
- What does it taste like? As I devoured this bonbon, I was disappointed to see the lack of fire and heat from the chilli. It boasted a dark and rich, fruity chocolate flavour but there was little sign of the chilli - until the aftertaste. Without warning the roaring heat at the back of your throat creeps up on you and takes you by surprise. It's a lovely surprise though, and carefully crafted for maximum effect.
Coffee and Cardamom
- What is it? A 70% dark chocolate shell with a dark coffee and cardamom ganache.
- What does it taste like? This bite is dark and rich, with just a hint of bitterness to it. Coffee sits front and centre, with the cardamom adding an almost floral angle to this bonbon. While the taste of coffee dominates, it's not overwhelming. It's a surprisingly creamy bite that is full of flavour. There's a mildly bitter finish, with a rich cocoa and coffee notes the lead into a long lingering aftertaste.
- What is it? A white chocolate ganache with basil seeds inside a 34% white chocolate shell.
- What does it taste like? This is an exceptional bite. Rose is one of my all-time favourites and the flavour comes through instantly. I've seldom seen it paired with white chocolate but its creaminess and sweetness works really well here. There's a gentle crunch from the basil seeds which add vegetal notes to the overall flavour. This bonbon offers an elegant and refined flavour, with rose leading from the start right through into the aftertaste. This bonbon is heavenly.
- What is it? A 45% milk chocolate shell containing a mulled spice milk chocolate ganache.
- What does it taste like? This bonbon is Christmas in a bite. Layers of gentle festive spices come through in this creamy bonbon, creating a Christmas cake-like flavour. The spices roll through into the aftertaste, where I also picked up a citrus strand. If this doesn't spark your Christmas spirit, nothing will!
- What is it? A 60% dark chocolate shell filled with both a raspberry gel and a raspberry ganache.
- What does it taste like? A tart jelly layer adds a lively aspect to this flavourful bonbon. The raspberry flavour sits at the heart of this bonbon, but it's delightfully delivered in a single shot through two mediums. It's sweet yet tart, and full of life. The dark chocolate introduces a hint of bitterness which is most noticeable in the aftertaste.
When I had the pleasure of tasting The Painted Peackock's handiwork in the Autumn, I commented that the box was "a lovely collection of chocolate bonbons with beautiful decoration and clear, well-balanced flavours."
This assessment applies in equal measure to this advent calendar. It's a lovely collection of diverse flavours and pretty artistry. Out of these new flavours, I particularly enjoyed the Mulled Spice and Chai bonbons for their delicious flavour combinations, and the Chilli bonbon for its cheeky kick at the end. But Falooda stole my heart. It's a delicious flavour combination inside a vivid pink shell.
The Painted Peacock Advent Calendar Review
RRP: £33.50 | The Painted Peacock | Shop now
Yugna has done it again, with an impressive collection of full-bodied chocolate bonbons inside beautifully decorated shells. Flavours are carefully balanced to ensure they hit the spot every time, while the artistry is a feast for the eyes. The only issue is that the bonbons jiggle around inside the advent calendar, chipping some of the paintwork. It's a minor niggle though.
Where to Buy Online
The Painted Peacock Advent Calendar (£33.50) has sold out for 2020, but I'm very sure it'll return again next year as it has proved a huge success.
In the meantime, you'll find the latest range of The Painted Peacock chocolate bonbons direct on their website here.
Which of these bonbons would you look forward to most of all? Let me know in the comments below.