Tea, tipples and strawberry popping candy: The countdown to Christmas couldn’t be more delicious with these advent calendars.
Advent calendar chocolate, with its slight tinge of cardboard taste, holds a special place in our hearts. They provide a reason to celebrate every day through the festive season and revel in
However, the delightful daily practice has now gone beyond the simple, thematically shaped treats. Beauty calendars, toy calendars and stationary calendars now line the festively draped shelves, expanding to suit more tastes and preferences.
We’re still partial to the snack-ish tradition of a choccie advent calendar, so we’re delighted to see such an expansion in advent calendars featuring food and drinks. In this collection of festive surprises, we’ve got plenty of chocolate, but have expanded to include New Zealand-made cooking ingredients, wine, beer, spirits and tea.
These calendars will please the food lovers in your life, whether they are major sweet tooths, keen cooks or totally tea-obsessed.
Pepper And Me 12 Days Of Christmas Calendar, $150
Best for: Keen cooks and gracious hosts.
Number of windows: 12 (but you’ll also get 2 more stocking stuffers).
What’s inside: In this box, you’ll find a wide variety of cooking ingredients, from barbecuing rubs to unique salt blends and flavourful sauces. Each day’s gift is accompanied by a recipe card, so you’ll receive immediate instruction on how to best use each of the ingredients (and perhaps some handy ideas for your upcoming festive feast?). Nine of the products within the box are brand new and exclusive, and the remaining three are from the 2023/24 summer range.
Why we love it: All of the treats in this box are gluten-free, most are dairy-free and some of the recipes have instructions to adapt to those dietary preferences. Each advent treat will likely make its way onto the Christmas menu, and it’s nice to open something that you’ll turn to beyond the much-too-short festive season.
Pik ’n Mix Lollies Advent Calendar, $90
Best for: Super sweet tooths, a shared workplace treat or nostalgia-obsessed pals.
What’s inside: There’s no mystery for this calendar — it’s filled with lollies. You’ll find a mix of ‘specialised candy’ and classic pick-and-mix treats in the box (think gummies, sour worms, jellies and many more twisty treats).
Why we love it: The bright red box is classically festive and it’s a bit more of a showstopper than the average A4-sized calendar. It also promises a little more variety than your standard chocolate calendar, with lollies that are sour, sweet, chewy, airy, snappy — the list goes on. Why not embrace a little childlike fun at the end of the year?
Honest Chocolat Decadent Christmas Advent Calendar, $68
Best for: Interior design enthusiasts who want to embellish their kitchen counter.
Number of windows: There are 24 flat-packed houses in this box, designed to hold 24 chocolates.
What’s inside: Specialties from Honest Chocolat are tucked inside each little house, including ambitiously flavoured bonbons (including blueberry, olive oil and espresso martini), simple dark chocolates and a couple of vegan varieties.
Why we love it: Rather than the traditional advent calendar, with one big box featuring lots of tiny doors, this crafty set-up uses tiny little houses. They would likely be a welcome festive addition to a countertop or side table, and will still slick on Christmas day. It’s a nice project to pull together too, as you could bring everyone together for the initial folding of the houses.
Favourites Craft Beer Advent Calendar, $145
Best for: A beer drinker who claims to have “tried them all”.
What’s inside: Some of the best locally made beers from across New Zealand’s independent breweries. You might find beverages from Wellington-based Parrotdog, Morningside favourite Urbanaut or Dominion Rd’s Behemoth. All of the cans are 330ml and you’ll also receive a $10 voucher for a future Beer Jerk purchase, as well as a voucher for the flagship bar The Fridge & Flagon.
The Festival Of Flavour Luxury Advent Calendar, $240
Best for: Someone attempting to convert from caffeine, or seasoned tea lovers.
What’s inside: This calendar features a lovely mix of goodies from T2, including a distinctive, limited-edition mug and matching coaster, spoon, scoop, candle and, of course, a myriad of teas with festive and classic flavours. You can expect to enjoy loose-leaf teas, appropriate for a morning brew or warming nighttime mug.
Why we love it: The sturdy box that houses all of these treats is recyclable and a few of the gifts featured are for keeps. It’s an easy way to try a wide range of T2′s offerings as well, with great value for money. And, if you’re looking to size up or down, there are other calendars to suit. You could opt for a more affordable calendar, priced at $56, or try out an even more extravagant ‘tea party’ calendar priced at $420.
House of Chocolate Christmas Advent Calendar, $36
Best for: A treat-lover who prefers a classic.
What’s inside: The House of Chocolate calendar promises 24 gluten-free chocolate baubles in six different flavours. You’ll be treated to dark chocolate, creamy hazelnut, strawberry popping candy, fairy bread, cacao milk chocolate and ‘gold chocolate’. The collection at the chocolate hot spot is also quite expansive (think true-to-size chocolate baubles, Christmas crackers and festive flavourings).
Why we love it: The bauble chocolates are adorable and the flavours aren’t too out there — this is just a really solid calendar to gift to friends or take home for yourself.
Cult Wine Advent Calendar, $595
Best for: Wine connoisseurs looking for a new favourite bottle.
What’s inside: There is a huge range in the bottles that make up this pack, including champagne, prosecco, whites, reds and a couple of sweeter options. Some are from international producers and some are local. An ‘iconic’ New Zealand pinot noir is also promised in every edition.
Why we love it: This is a pack that you can stack for the upcoming year and look forward to enjoying over a longer period of time. It’s great value for money too — each bottle works out to be less than $25 a bottle.
Colestown Christmas Mid-Century Advent Calendar, $64
Best for: A no-fuss Christmas fan.
What’s inside: Callebaut chocolate imported from Belgium, crafted by hand into artisan chocolates. There are a few different flavours included in this more traditional calendar: chocolate candy cane, truffles, and chocolate marshmallow.
Why we love it: This is a breezy step up from your average chocolate advent calendar as it houses a higher-quality treat. And the brand clearly has some big fans — the other Colestown Christmas varieties, including chocolate baubles, mini Santas and Christmas crackers, have been in hot demand and are all sold out. If you’d like to enjoy these simple treats, you might have to get in quick.
The Weekender Gin Advent Calendar, $295
Best for: A mate who dreams of mixology.
What’s inside: Among the many, many small-batch and hand-crafted gins hiding in this calendar, you’ll find flavours including boysenberry, citrus, pink blossom, pomegranate, Doris plum and rhubarb.
Why we love it: All of the spirits are from New Zealand companies and you’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere else that rivals the variety in flavours. Each gin taster also comes packaged in a bauble-like bottle, which can be re-used to create decorations ready for the tree.
Devonport Luxury Advent Calendar, $99
Best for: Diehard traditionalists.
What’s inside: This summery box holds a huge range of handmade chocolates. You’ll find chewy caramel, hazelnut, lemonade, vanilla raspberry, pink gin and foil-wrapped tokens among its treats. The calendar also features a ‘chocolate legend’ inside — a lovely story to accompany the choccies.
Why we love it: The chocolate shop is currently stocking other Christmas-appropriate treats, from tiny trees to reindeer to jolly bells. There are also plenty of festive flavours to choose from in the wider range; think meringue, summer berries and Christmas pudding. There are also vegan options available (chocolate for everyone!).
Good Geroge Festive Mixed Fridge Calendar, $175
Best for: Filling out your party-season drinks fridge.
What’s inside: There are two options to choose from in this instance. If you’re a bigger fan of beer, you can opt for a case of craft brew, but if you’d prefer a little more variety and wider tasting options, then you can grab a mix of beers, ciders and crafted cocktails.
Why we love it: It’s nice that there is such a variety in this collection of tipples. For that period between Christmas and New Year’s, you might turn to this box to welcome guests to a backyard barbecue — and you’ll most certainly have something that they’re keen on.