If there’s one good thing about the nights getting darker and the days getting shorter it’s that the festive season is creeping near. And the best thing about December? An excuse to tuck into a great foodie advent calendar of course.
Cast your mind back to when you were a young child and it was the run up to Christmas. What motivated your younger self to jump out of bed every morning? Was it the promise of a delicious piece of chocolate from your advent calendar? Of course it was. We might be all grown up now, but the allure of an advent calendar at Christmas is still strong, especially when it’s concealing gourmet adult snacks or alcoholic miniatures. Yes, there is nothing wrong with a traditional chocolate advent calendar and they are a rightful staple of the Yuletide season, but we have to admit that in 2023, simply having chocolate behind each calendar door seems a little, well…boring.
These days, there are all sorts of foodie and drink advent calendars that you can purchase for the countdown to Christmas. If you enjoy a tipple at Christmastime, pick a gin advent calendar. Partial to a Jacob’s cracker during winter? Get yourself a cheese advent calendar. Or maybe you are more of a gourmet snack kind of person – a popcorn advent calendar it is, or perhaps one of the artisanal marshmallow variety? What we are trying to say is that when it comes to the best advent calendars for food and drink lovers in 2023, the possibilities are endless.
To stop you from feeling overwhelmed, we have rounded up the best non-traditional advent calendars we can find, suiting a range of tastes, styles and budgets. Check out our top picks below, which have been handily categorised by theme, so that you can jump straight to the section that tickles your fancy and is tailor-made for you. Move aside chocolate, it’s time for some other food and drink to bask in the Christmas glory for once.
The best cheese advent calendars
Cheese is love, cheese is life. For some bizarre reason, cheese advent calendars haven’t taken off quite as much as boozy or sweet varieties, but we’ve still managed to find some to satisfy your savoury cravings this Christmas.
Ilchester Cheese Advent Calendar
What: This popular cheese advent calendar is back for 2023! Behind each door, you will find one of 12 miniature cheese bites, alongside a selection of cheesy jokes. Flavours you can expect this year include Jarlsberg, Applewood, Mexicana, Cheddar, Red Leicester, Double Gloucester, Wensleydale Cheese with Cranberries, and Wensleydale and Gingerbread.
How much: £25.99
Buy now: Ilchester Cheese Advent Calendar
Paxton & Whitfield Cheese Advent Calendar
What: Paxton & Whitfield is the UK's oldest cheesemonger, and its festive fromage deliveries are incredibly popular. This year's cheesy calendar features some of the affineur's favourite cheeses from this year, as well as a few heritage favourites too. Plus, you get proper portions! Sign up and you'll get three separate deliveries of eight cheeses, with each coming neatly packaged in its own little box.
How much: £150
Buy now: Paxton & Whitfield Cheese Advent Calendar
The Chuckling Cheese Company Advent Calendar
What: Featuring eight individually wrapped cheeses, this advent calendar is the stuff dreams are made of (and possibly nightmares after consumption). The calendar also features six days' worth of mini crackers and six days' of mini chutneys, so that you can create a festive cheeseboard in the comfort of your own home.
How much: £39.99
Buy now: Chuckling Cheese Company Advent Calendar
The best food advent calendars
Let’s be real, you’ll probably eat enough chocolate on Christmas Day to fulfil your yearly allowance. So you might as well swap out the chocs for something different in the run-up to Christmas. Whether it’s pork scratching’s or popcorn, our pick of savoury food advent calendars should have something to suit your taste.
Fortnum & Mason Feasting Advent Calendar
What: Fortnum’s doesn’t do things by halves, so it’s no surprise that its Feasting Advent Calendar is filled with top-shelf foodstuffs. Festive treats to discover include the ultimate milk hot chocolate box, spiced orange and dark chocolate biscuits, and quarter bottle of Champagne.
How much: £200
Buy now: Fortnum & Mason Feasting Advent Calendar
The Spice Discovery Advent Calendar
What: Tantalise your tastebuds with a new spice or spice blend every day, courtesy of Terre Exotique and this spice discovery calendar. Each box has an individual sachet, along with tasting notes and recipe ideas so you can mix up your home cooking before going all out on turkey and roast potatoes.
How much: £34.99
Buy now: The Spice Discovery Advent Calendar
Artisan Biscuit Advent Calendar
What: This cutesy advent calendar features 25 hand-iced organic biscuits which are decorated with festive characters such as snowmen, gingerbread men and Christmas trees. The perfect treat for a lover of all things sweet!
How much: £79
Buy now: Artisan Biscuit Advent Calendar
Gourmet Marshmallow Advent Calendar
What: The world’s first Gourmet Marshmallow Advent Calendar features twelve flavours across 25 individual sweet treats, with the Christmas Day door leading you to a chocolate coated salted caramel marshmallow bar. Want to take it up a notch? Get the toasting kit too for some campfire style snacks in the comfort of you own home.
How much: £20 without toaster, £23.95 with toaster
Where to buy: Naked Marshmallow Co.
Protein Bar Advent Calendar
What: Like your day to start with chocolate but prefer it with a little less guilt? This protein bar advent calendar is the ultimate way to help keep track of your macros whilst still getting into the festive spirit. Behind nine of the doors you’ll find limited-edition bars, with the rest hiding some of Barebells signature treats.
How much: £55
Where to buy: Barebells
Tiptree Bus Jam Advent Calendar
What: We’re a country of jam & marmalade lovers, with a majority of us choosing to spread it on our toast every morning, so what better way to start your day than getting a new sweet treat from your advent calendar everyday? Plus it comes in a charming double decker bus package.
How much: £29.99
Where to buy: Tiptree
The Sweet Reason Brownie Advent Calendar
What: You can find advent calendars made up of almost any foodstuff these days, but this is the first brownie advent calendar we’ve come across and we’re obsessed. The handmade brownie box contains fun and festive flavours, including mince pie, honeycomb, salted caramel, chocolate orange and Oreo and peanut butter. Just make sure to hide these from everyone else in your house.
How much: £76
Buy now: Sweet Reason Brownie Advent Calendar
Biscuiteers Luxe Advent Biscuit Tin
What: If you prefer biscuits to choc, treat yourself to 24 hand-iced biccies from the folk at Biscuiteers. Each snack is beautifully decorated to look like a hallmark of the festive season - think polar bears and snowflakes.
How much: £60
Buy now: Biscuiteers Luxe Advent Biscuit Tin
The Advent Calendar For Two
What: Hotel Chocolat is offering a space saving solution for couples who celebrate advent this year, with a calendar made for two. Each day you’ll get treated to one of the chocolatiers signature truffles, including flavours like gingerbread praline and Madagascan vanilla, for you and your partner. Of course, it's also equally suitable for one if a single chocolate isn’t quite enough each day.
How much: £27.50
Buy now: The Advent Calendar For Two
Just Spices Large Advent Calendar
What: Looking for a way to spice up your life this Christmas? Just Spices are offering an advent calendar with 24 full size spice mixes, seasonings and toppings, to help you up your cooking game this festive season. Plus, it comes with a free cookbook to keep you busy until next year!
How much: £99.99
Buy now: Just Spices Large Advent Calendar
Choc Corn Advent Calendar
What: A lighter but equally delicious treat behind each window with the Marks and Spencers classic Choc Corn calendar. This one contains 24 milk chocolate and salted toffee popcorn clusters, one for each day of December, plus a bonus treat for Christmas day with the chocolate and toffee popcorn bar.
How much: £6
Buy now: Choc Corn Calendar
The best vegan advent calendars
Just because you’re a vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun of counting down to Christmas Day. Check out the dairy-free alternatives that you can find behind the doors of the best vegan advent calendars below.
Candy Kittens Vegan Advent Calendar
What: If you want to avoid chocolate, why not indulge in some vegan sweets instead? Inside you'll find 24 days’ worth of at least two tasty Candy Kitten sweets per day, as well as a full sized pouch for the 24th day. It makes for the perfect gift for any sweet-lovers in your life!
How much: £12
Buy now: Candy Kittens Vegan Advent Calendar
HAPPi Plastic-free Advent Calendar
What: Not only is HAPPi's advent calendar vegan and gluten-free, it's also plastic-free, making it the perfect gift for your eco-conscious friend, child or sibling! Having sampled HAPPi's oat milk-based chocolate, we'd be more than happy eating this 24 days in a row - we'd even continue eating it well into next year if you gave us the chance.
How much: £15
Buy now: HAPPi Plastic-free Advent Calendar
H!P Oat Milk Chocolate Advent Calendar
What: Made with oat milk and 100% Colombian chocolate, H!P's advent calendar is vegan-friendly, and it's plastic free so entirely recyclable when you get to Christmas Day! Plus, the calendar mixes things up with four different chocolate flavours - plain, salted caramel, gingerbread and white chocolate - so you're not getting the same old same old every day.
How much: £10
Buy now: H!P Oat Milk Chocolate Advent Calendar
Popcorn Shed Vegan Advent Calendar
What: You’ll forget any chocolate cravings with this gourmet popcorn calendar. Each window conceals a handful of gourmet popcorn, with flavours including pecan pie and white truffle.
How much: £31.99
Buy now: Popcorn Shed Vegan Advent Calendar
The best drinks advent calendars
If you prefer liquid pleasures to foodstuffs, pick from one of these drinks-focused advent calendars instead. Ranging from calendars filled with herbal tea infusions to ones featuring 24 different kinds of hot chocolates, these drink advent calendars will have you sipping pretty all the way until Christmas Day.
Waterdrop Advent Calendar
What: Planning an alcohol-free festive season? Opt for this advent calendar which features 25 booze-free micro drinks which are all infused with vitamins, real fruit and plant extracts. There are three sizes to choose from, so you can order the one that’s just right for you.
How much: From £19.90
Buy now: Waterdrop Advent Calendar
Grind Coffee Advent Calendar
What: The perfect choice for the coffee lover. Start each morning of your Christmas countdown with a Grind coffee pod (designed for Nespresso machines). You'll get to enjoy a variety of unique blends, with an extra pod for the 25th featuring the limited edition Christmas blend. Plus, the pods are compostable so you don't need to worry about any waste.
How much: £28
Buy now: Grind Advent Calendar
Single Malts of Scotland Whisky Advent Calendar
What: The ultimate advent calendar for the whisky lover in your life - Single Malts of Scotland takes you on a tour of Scotland's great whisky distilleries, with a new dram to try each day. Whiskies range in age from seven to 31 years, and include the likes of Ardmore, Craigellachie, Highland Park and Laphroaig.
How much: £245
Buy now: Single Malts of Scotland Whisky Advent Calendar
Artisan Coffee Bag Advent Calendar
What: Long gone are the days of coffee pods for your convenient caffeine hit at home, Artisan Coffee company is bringing you an advent calendar full of coffee BAGS. This unique festive treat offers 24 bags with six different signature blends to enjoy throughout December, and is the perfect motivation to get yourself out of bed during the cold winter mornings.
How much: £20.29
Where to buy: Artisan Coffee Co.
NIO Cocktail Advent Calendar
What: This indulgent calendar is bringing you a cocktail a day in December! Containing 12 doors - each filled with two cocktails - you'll have a variety of choices to keep you going during the run up till Christmas from Margaritas and Espresso Martinis to Cosmopolitans and Negronis. There is, of course, the option to share your drinks over 12 days - but we won't judge you if you keep them all for yourself.
How much: £135
Where to buy: NIO Cocktail Advent Calendar
Ground Coffee Advent Calendar
What: Pact Coffee is bringing coffee lovers a selection of 25 exceptional coffees, each neatly packaged in branded sachets. The coffees also come with their own coffee cards so you can discover more about each one whilst you drink it. Want to make sure you and your partner both get your daily dose of caffeine? They also do a couples advent calendar…
How much: £34.95
Where to buy: Pact Coffee Advent Calendar
The best wine advent calendars
Christmas is the season to break out the good vino to enjoy with pals. If you're planning on just doing a little bit of moderate quaffing each day, these great wine advent calendars are just the ticket!
Virgin Wines Advent Calendar
What: Virgin was one of the very first brands to get in on the wine advent calendar action, first launching in 2016. This year, Virgin is stepping up its game by offering three different advent calendars: mixed, red and white. Each one features 24 miniature bottles of wine, as well as one regular-sized bottle to crack open on Christmas Day.
How much: £89.99
Buy now: Virgin Wines Advent Calendar
Prosecco O'Clock Advent Calendar
What: This rather elaborate advent calendar features Prosecco, Cava, Brut and more. You can pick your miniature bottle from each ‘hour’ on the clock, while the wooden structure can be used year after year (although refilling the bottles in the future will be down to you sadly).
How much: £114.95
Buy now: Prosecco O Clock Advent Calendar
Vinca Tasting Box Alternative Advent Calendar
What: If 24 bottles of wine seems a little bit too much this Christmas, then why not try this alternative from Vinca with their alternative Wine Lovers Tasting Box. Complete with 3 organic wines, as well as a selection of perfectly paired snacks, perhaps you can use this box as a way to countdown those winter weekends instead!
How much: £20
Buy now: Vinca Alternative Advent Calendar
The best beer advent calendars
If you, or someone you love, is obsessed with beer, we’re happy to report that there’s an advent calendar for that. Our pick of the best beer advent calendars for 2023 feature some of the best beers from all over the world – cheers to that!
Star Wars Original Stormtrooper Beer Advent Calendar
What: Any Star Wars fans out there? This might be a niche gift, but you'll absolutely nail the brief if you have friends with a penchant for the sci fi franchise. Filled with 12 craft beers, including a Galactic Pale Ale and Lightspeed Pilsner, a 'Taste the Galaxy' glass, plus more Star Wars merch, this one's a great deal at less than £50.
How much: £49
Buy now: Star Wars Original Stormtrooper Beer Advent CalendarBeer Hawk Advent Calendar
Beavertown Advent Calendar
What: Beavertown has become famous for its punchy flavours and whacky can art. This advent calendar features fan-favourites neck oil, gamma ray and bones lager, as well as more adventurous offerings (chocolate porter and coffee stout). The calendar also includes a Christmas glass, as well as a surprise present for your tree.
How much: £69
Buy now: Beavertown Advent Calendar
Beer Countdown Advent Calendar
What: Wrapped up like a big Christmas present sitting under the tree, this countdown calendar features 24 bottles of beer for you to discover. Names you’ll find on the list of full-sized cans include Ghost Ship, Triple Knot and Mosaic Pale Ale.
How much: £129.95
Buy now: Beer Countdown Advent Calendar
The best gin advent calendars
Gin has had quite the renaissance in recent years, becoming one of the most popular orders at bars up and down the country. The nation’s obsession with gin has even extended to the Christmas countdown, with gin advent calendars in high demand. Check out some of this year’s best offerings below.
Virgin Wines Gin Advent Calendar
What: You might not expect Virgin Wines to offer a gin advent calendar given its name, but once you’ve tried this box of treats you won’t be complaining. This year, you can expect to discover 24 superb gins from both award-winning producers and lesser-known boutique craft gins. So, in short, there is something to please everyone.
How much: £99.99
Buy now: Virgin Wines Gin Advent Calendar
That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent Calendar
What: Fancy trying out 24 different kinds of gin without having to splash out on expensive bottles? This advent calendar is the solution to your problem, featuring 30ml drams of top gins. Sip on the likes of Pink Gin, Cherry Gin and Pineapple Gin.
How much: £59.95
Buy now: That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent Calendar
Drinks by the Dram Craft Gin Advent Calendar
What: This boujie offering from Drinks by the Dram includes 24 hand-picked, wax-sealed drams of gin, all of which are different and span a range of small-scale gin producers. Indulge in brands you know, and discover labels you don’t, with a wide spectrum of tipples on offer. Alongside classic offerings, there are plenty of interesting flavour combinations to get excited about too, including pink marmalade, gooseberry, gunpowder and rosehip, and orange and geranium.
How much: £69.95
Buy now: Drinks by the Dram Craft Gin Advent Calendar
If you’re planning a Christmas party for your friends, family or office, check out our Christmas parties page for tons of venue inspiration.
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