13 best chocolate advent calendars for adults
Guzzle the finest truffles and nibble on the cutest animal-shaped chocolates this Christmas
While the sweetest, cheapest, solid milk chocolates might be enough to delight children, there is a whole world of advent calendars catering for adults, combining beautiful design and decadent contents. Every year the offerings seem to get bigger, more luxurious and creative, the flavours more sophisticated.
Whether you are indulging your inner child and excitedly counting down the days to Christmas, or you simply want an excuse to munch your way through some delicious treats, we’ve scoured the best chocolate makers for the most indulgent options. Who says Christmas is just for children?
Ultimate Advent Calendar: £40, Artisan du Chocolat
The British chocolatier has three offerings this year, and this one is their most decadent – and beautiful, decorated with magical wild forest creatures and frosted glitter.
It’s also an advent calendar with a difference. Once you’ve worked your way around the carousel’s drawers containing 24 chocolates, from their famous liquid salted caramels to pearls, truffles, soft pralines and ganache, lift the lid in the centre to reveal... well, we wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.
Gift-wrapping costs an extra £1.99.
Advent Selection Box: £23.50, Chococo
Who needs windows to open when the chocolates are this good? The numbered festive box counts down to Christmas with a delectable handmade chocolate each day; the 25 exotic and seasonal flavours include Tawny Port & Fig, Guava and Coconut Truffle, and Fizzy Pudding on the 25th. Our favourites are the Kumquat Twist and Dorset Salted Caramel, but they’re all delicious.
The award-winning Dorset company’s chocolates are so fresh, made with local cream, that the calendar is delivered at the end of November, and should be stored in the fridge.
The vegan ones are clearly marked.
Upstanding Advent Calendar: £55, Charbonnel et Walker
This calendar is one to keep on the mantelpiece. Charbonnel et Walker has been creating its creamy chocolates since 1875, and the Victorian Miniature Paper Theatres theme and opulent gold numbering of their 2018 calendar are a nod to the chocolatier's heritage.
Open the drawers to reveal delicious full-size chocolates from fudge to violet creme, each housed in a white box – a little Christmas parcel to open each day.
Keep the stunning calendar and refill the drawers each year.
Godiva – The Festive Selection Advent Calendar: £15, Sainsbury’s
The Belgian chocolatier never disappoints, and its new budget offering, from the Everyday Luxury Collection, is anything but budget in reality.
You’ll find an assortment of colourful Santas, trees, stars and bells in milk, white and dark chocolate, with a special wreath on the 24th, all housed behind a red and gold scene depicting The Twelve Days of Christmas.
The Grand Advent Calendar: £68, Hotel Chocolat
This sumptuous calendar is colossal. It opens like a large book – and is almost as heavy, packed with a selection of the chocolate brand’s offerings.
There’s true surprise factor in opening the windows which reveal treats as varied as packets of seasonal flavoured chocolates (Cinnamon Buns), a smooth vegan Hazelnut Bûche, crackers filled with pecan praline, Salted Caramel Vodka, and award-winning Cocoa Gin.
There are treats for every family member here, and there’s plenty to share.
Green & Black’s Advent Calendar: £10, Waitrose
What this calendar lacks in exciting festive design, it makes up for with a generous 238 grams of high quality chocolate.
New this year, Green & Black’s first advent calendar looks much more expensive than it is. It contains miniature, wrapped versions from the Praline and Velvet Edition ranges including milk and dark, salted caramel infused dark chocolate, 70 per cent, and sea salt dark chocolates.
Divine Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar: £5, Divine
The ethical brand, which trades fairly with farmers in Ghana, has two options this year that are easy on the budget: milk chocolate and this vegan-friendly dark chocolate version. Small solid animal-shaped 70 per cent cocoa chocolates hide behind the gold woodland scene.
GAIL’s advent calendar: £18, GAIL’S
This advent calendar may be understated with its line drawings of houses and churches, and muted shades, but the chocolates are nothing ordinary.
A collaboration with Melt chocolatiers in London’s Notting Hill, the 24 chocolates are bespoke creations using breadcrumbs from the luxury bakery’s signature French dark sourdough that are caramelised and folded into dark and milk chocolate. And they’re really very moreish.
Fortnum's Truffle Selection Advent Calendar: £35, Fortnum and Mason
Sample the decadent sparkly truffles from the iconic Piccadilly store’s confectionery counter.
Sophisticated flavours including Marc de Champagne, Christmas pudding, Gingerbread Biscuit, Chocolate Orange and Pecan, Salted Caramel and Maple Syrup are behind the stunning illustrations.
24 Notes of Sweetness Advent Calendar: £49, Pierre Marcolini
The Belgian chocolatier’s advent calendars are always works of art worthy of the delicious luxurious chocolates within. The Carousel of Fun is no different.
The calendar opens up like a large story book, and behind its windows are indulgent treats created and hand-picked by Marcolini from pistachio croustillants to pralines and fondants, giandujas and caramels.
Buy now (available from 9 November)
The Snowman Advent Calendar: £22.50, Prestat
The lively, colourful snowy scene of Prestat’s newly designed calendar for 2018 will appeal to adults and children alike – and will bring festive cheer to any home.
Inside you’ll find 24 chunky, solid chocolates in caramel and sea salt dark chocolate flavours – pleasing the sweet and not-so-sweet-toothed – and also a story written by WB Keeling Esq.
Carluccio’s Advent Calendar: £9.95, Carluccio’s
For the sweet-toothed, Carluccio’s compact advent calendar is filled with creamy giandujas. We love the nostalgia-inducing design of the wintery “Monte Bianco” scene, with a snow-topped chalet, fir trees and mountains, on the typically vintage style box. The foil wrapped festive characters and woodland animals will appeal to the young and old.
Lindt Excellence Advent Calendar: £12, Amazon
This is the least Christmassy of all our choices, so if you’re more interested in indulging in a daily chocolate – and you’re a dark chocolate fan – this one is for you. It is also ideal for couples since there are two fine Swiss chocolates behind every window (except for the 24th, when there are double rations).
The surprise factor is in not knowing which of the four dark chocolate flavours – plain, orange, mint, and sea salt – will be behind each window.
With 275g of chocolate, it’s good value, too.
The Verdict: Best chocolate advent calendars for adults
For the true connoisseurs, you can’t beat the intense flavours, or freshness, of Chococo’s handmade chocolates. But for variety, and taste, design, and excitement factor, we are also fans of Artisan du Chocolat’s option and Hotel Chocolat’s enormous Grand Advent which is a feast fit for sharing among the whole family and with friends.
If you’re looking for a calendar that will stand out on the mantelpiece as part of your Christmas decorations, Charbonnel et Walker’s will look beautiful even once its delicious contents have been demolished, and Prestat’s Snowman Calendar is jolly and doesn’t need to be propped up.
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