Words by: Shamim de Brún
Advent: The stretch leading up to Christmas. It’s hypothetically a season of fasting and contemplation to prep for Jesus’s arrival. In practice, it is a season of excess. One party after another till the big party before the other party.
If carefully opening a perforated flap in the cardboard box, revealing a euro size milk chocolate shaped like a bell gets you all excited you are not alone. Not knowing what exactly is behind that door is probably the most efficient way to recapture the childish excitement of the Christmas build-up.
We have condensed our top 5 Irish owned and produced advent calendars to get you all caught up in the festivities
For the wild thing
Wilde Chocolates are the vagabonds of the Irish chocolate scene. All their chocolatiers are house trained in Belgian couverture chocolate making. They are as experimental as the colloquial mad scientist. Always trying something new. This is a daring selection of 24 milk and dark chocolates, pralines, caramels and truffles.
Coming in at €20, you can order direct from Wilde Chocolates or pick it up for now of their many stockists nationally.
For the ethicist.
This advent calendar comes in “12 days of Christmas” as well as the conventional 24. It’s marketed to children but there are no age limits on chocolate. Each chocolate comes with a 3D cardboard figure to assemble and educational “fun facts”. All the joy of a Christmas cracker every morning. Made by a 100% Irish owned and grown company. Decadent and guilt-free as well as vegan, GM-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar, home-compostable, plastic-free, and locally-made. It ticks all the boxes you could possibly want
Retailing from €33 to €66 you can pick this up at one of their numerous stockists or buy direct from their website.
For the connoisseur
This one is boujee. A hundred quid on an advent calendar is sheer luxury. It comes in as just under a fiver a day, so if you’re subbing your morning coffee and a croissant for a decadent hand-painted Irish made chocolate then it’s somewhat justifiable. The chocolates from Grá are something special and would give anyone a reason to get out of bed on dark December Sunday mornings.
This comes in at exactly €100 and is available online or in-store at Brown Thomas.
For the tippler
Who doesn’t wanna chill out after a long dark hard day with a beer? It’s even more fun when the beer in question is Irish. There’s a little bit of everything in this box; IPAs, dark beers, and some fruity little numbers. All 24 of these beers come from Irish owned and operated breweries. It’s a great way to get to know the fermenting Irish beer scene. The box is 2 layers deep so it comes with one rule: no sneaking ahead to the second layer.
It will cost you €75 to fill your advent with holiday beer which comes out at about 3 quid a beer. Solid.
For taste savants
If preserves are your jam then this is a calendar for you. With 24 seasonal selections, GranGran subverts all expectations. It comes with sweet and some savoury selections to munch on. It’s an interesting alternative to a chocolate centric countdown. All these creative condiments are handmade by a family run business. They only use seasonal fresh ingredients including their own homegrown veggies.
Coming in at €65 it’s pretty well priced for the quality of the produces. You can pick it up from any one of their 250 suppliers nationwide.
Also on Char: 5 Unexpected wine and chicken wing pairings