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21 Oct 2021

What's the best chocolate advent calendar to buy this Christmas?

Find out which luxury chocolate advent calendar, from Fortnum & Masons, Hotel Chocolat, Green & Blacks and more, will put a smile on your face as you countdown to Christmas Day

Soon it'll be the most wonderful time of the year and what better way to mark it than with a delicious daily dose of chocolate. We've tested nine luxury chocolate advent calendars, ranging in price from £10 up to £68, from Hotel Chocolat, Green & Blacks, Fortnum and Mason, Butlers and more.

A great chocolate advent calendar should be stuffed full of delicious treats, but also mix it up each day so you're not in a plain milk chocolate-induced coma come Christmas day.

We asked a panel of five researchers to open, rate and taste the chocolate from each calendar. Read on for our recommendations and to find out which calendar seriously disappointed the panel in terms of taste.

Gin more your thing? See the best gin advent calendars.

The best chocolate advent calendars

Editor's Choice: Hotel Chocolat Grand Advent Calendar

Cheapest price: £68 at Hotel Chocolat.

Pros: Looks great, high quality chocolate gifts, lots of variety, some genuine surprises behind some of the windows.

Cons: It's expensive, potentially over indulgent.

Our verdict: If you know someone who has been very good this year, then this is the chocolate advent calendar they deserve.

The Grand Advent Calendar from Hotel Chocolate is pricey, but it would impress anyone you gifted it to and what you get inside is genuinely impressive.

It's a huge calendar and it looks very smart, but the fun really starts when you begin to open the windows.

Of all of the chocolate advent calendars we tested, this one has the best variety of gifts inside and each is very high quality.

As you'd expect there are lots of chocolate treats including chocolate wreaths, snowmen and truffles. But you'll also get some genuine surprises, for examplechocolate lip balm, chocolate gin, and some more we'll leave you to discover yourself.

More than half of our panel would consider buying it for their partner, and would love to have it bought as a treat for themselves too.

There's no denying that it's incredibly expensive, but it contains a huge amount of chocolate. We'd avoid buying it for anyone on a diet though.

Editor's Choice: Butlers Chocolate Advent Calendar

Cheapest price: £18 at Waitrose and £19.95 at Harvey Nichols. Also available at Fenwick.

Pros: It looks stylish, high quality delicious chocolates.

Cons: It doesn't have the variety of gifts compared to the more expensive Hotel Chocolat Grand.

Our verdict: This Butlers advent calendar is very festive and each window hides a genuinely delicious little chocolate treat.

The panel thought that this is the perfect gift for the real chocolate connoisseur, with a smaller daily appetite.

There's a good variety of chocolates and flavours behind each window so you won't be stuck with the same chocolates day after day.

Each chocolate looks like it would be at home in the window of a fancy boutique chocolate shop and they taste delicious too, so you won't be disappointed.

Love Cocoa Advent calendar

Editor's Choice: Love Cocoa by James Cadbury Luxury Chocolate Truffle Charity Advent Calendar

Cheapest price: £25 at Lovecocoa.

Pros: All proceeds go to the NHS, delicious chocolate, some generous portions, nicely decorated.

Cons: Portion sizes vary.

Our verdict: This Lovecocoa calendar looks great and it's filled with delicious chocolates.

It's a charity calendar with all of the proceeds donated to the NHS.

It's beautifully decorated on the outside so that each window is a nod to something that happened in 2021; Captain Tom, Joe Wicks and James Bond are all referenced in this British-themed trip down memory lane.

Whether you want to remember 2021 in such detail is another question altogether, but the design is fabulous, and there's even a little bit of trivia behind each window too.

Our panel really enjoyed the chocolates, particularly the large praline truffles and the double chocolate surprise you get on Christmas Eve.

Many of the panel would give this as a gift to their significant others and be very happy to receive it in return, so it's well deserving of its Editor's Choice award.

See our pick of the best kids' advent calendars.

How the rest fared

While there are some good advent calendars in the selection below, they didn't quite do enough to impress our panel and be awarded Editor's Choice. They're listed alphabetically.

Coco Chocolatier Advent Calendar

Cheapest price: £50 Available at Cocochocolatier.

Pros: Looks classy, four flavours of high quality chocolate.

Cons: Not as much variety as other options, expensive.

Our verdict: This calendar is strikingly decorated and looks classy, but there isn't as much variety as with some of the other advent calendars.

It contains 24 mini bars of delicious chocolate and there's six of each of the four flavours (Colombian Dark, Colombian Milk, Isle of Skye Sea Salt Dark, Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate).

But with only four flavours there's a fair amount of repetition, and you'll be out of surprises by the middle of December.

Ultimately the calendar is striking and has lovely chocolate in it, but none of our panel picked this as their preferred option for themselves or their partner.

Fortnum and Mason Piccadilly Chocolate Advent calendar

Cheapest price: £22 at Fortnum & Mason.

Pros: Looks pretty, unique design.

Cons: Bad chocolate.

Our verdict: Every one of our five person panel spat the chocolate from this calendar out during tasting.

The chocolate in the calendar we purchased had a chemical taste to it, which meant the chocolate was inedible.

That being said, it looks very Christmassy and appealing. But a chocolate advent calendar with poor quality chocolate, doesn't get our recommendation.

We contacted Fortnum and Mason with our findings.

Green & Blacks Organic Chocolate Advent Calendar

Cheapest price: £10 at Sainsburys. Also available at Waitrose, Amazon and Green and Blacks.

Pros: Good price, tasty chocolate, five different flavours.

Cons: Not the most attractive box.

Our verdict: Comparatively ugly box, great chocolate.

You know what you're going to get with Green & Blacks, and that's great chocolate and tempting flavours. This calendar contains 24 mini bars of five different flavours (Dark 70%, Dark 80%, Milk with Butterscotch, Milk and Dark with Ginger).

So particularly if you like dark chocolate, this is a cracking selection.

Our panel thought the chocolate was high quality and you get quite a lot of it considering the price of the calendar.

It was only let down by the slightly unflashy box, and having a bit less variety compared to our Editor's Choice advent calendars.

Hotel Chocolat The Advent Calendar For Two

Cheapest price: £26 at Hotel Chocolat.

Pros: Looks classy, not too over indulgent, nice chocolate with a good variety of flavours.

Cons: Couples theme gives it a less broad appeal.

Our verdict: A nice little treat for a couple that isn't too over indulgent.

Our panel liked this calendar, it ticks all of the boxes in that it's attractive to look at and contains 48 delicious truffles with a good variety of flavours.

While it's a lovely calendar it ultimately misses out on an Editor's Choice because not enough of our panel said that they would buy this one over our other three top picks.

Lakeland chocolate advent calendar

Cheapest price: £9.99 at Lakeland.

Pros: Nice Christmassy images on each chocolate, not expensive.

Cons: Chocolate needs to be added to a pre-made advent calendar, chocolate tastes a bit cheap.

Our verdict: There wasn't a lot of love for this Lakeland chocolate selection.

In truth, it isn't so much an advent calendar as a selection of 24 chocolates to put in your homemade calendar.

But despite having a nice Christmassy wrapper, the chocolates are all the same, and our panel thought that they tasted a bit cheap, so it didn't get our recommendation.

It's also worth noting that you can get the Green & Blacks calendar for the same price, and it's miles better than this one.

Yawn Hot Chocolate Advent Calendar

Cheapest price: £26 at Yawnbrew. Also available at Amazon.

Pros: Impressive selection and variety of hot chocolate flavours.

Cons: It's just hot chocolate.

Our verdict: A nice twist on the traditional chocolate advent calendar.

This calendar is stuffed with decadent hot chocolate rather than chocolate treats, and some would argue it's all the better for it.

Inside you get 24 hot chocolate sachets, with a huge variety of different flavours including; Christmas Carrot, Cocoa Biscuit, Sticky Toffee, Enchanted Forest and Campfire Marshmallow, to name just a few.

If you know a hot chocolate lover then they are really going to love this calendar.

It's decorated with an arty mountain scene too, which our panel were fond of.

How to spend less on a chocolate advent calendar

Our cheapest Editor's Choice advent calendar still costs £20, and we know not everyone has that much money to splurge on such a non-essential treat.

But there are much more affordable ways to get a festive chocolate hit in the run up to Christmas.

One cheaper and more sustainable option is to make your own advent calendar and fill it with your favourite chocolates.

We've seen great homemade advent calendars made of fabric, cardboard and even old toilet rolls.

How we tested chocolate advent calendars

We asked a panel of five volunteers to rate each chocolate advent calendar on how they looked, the quality of the chocolate and the variety of the chocolate.

We also asked them to tell us which calendars they would most likely buy for their significant others, and which ones they would like to be gifted themselves.

The best chocolate advent calendars look great, are stuffed with high quality chocolate and will surprise and delight you everyday in the run up to Christmas.