Advent calendars: the good, the bad and the cheesy
What’s the point of an advent calendar if you have to keep it in the fridge?
The Angry Birds themed Advent calendar from the people at Cadbury looks impressive and we can imagine that most children will receive it with delight
Butler’s Advent calendar
€20 for 350g, €57.14 per kg
At €20 this is the dearest of the advent calendars we tried. It is also very feeeaaancy. That is kind of a problem really. We are not sure who this is for. If you’re buying an advent calendar for a child then why would you buy something so expensively tasteful and if you are buying one for an adult then just why?
Having said that the chocolate behind each of the little flaps – which are revealed through the unwrapping of a festive bow - are excellent and, arguably, the best chocolates you will find in an advent calendar selling in Ireland. Of course you could just buy the chocolates and forget all about limiting yourself to one a day.
Verdict: High priced but lovely
Star rating: * * * *
Illchester Cheese Advent calendar from Lidl
€8.99 for 480g, €18.72 per kg (of cheese)
What would the baby Jesus make of the baby cheeses? That is what we wanted to know the moment we saw this in the fridge in our local Lidl. The next question we had was how long it would take the Pricewatch children to run away from home if we presented them with a cheesy advent calendar instead of one filled with chocolates or random presents found in Tiger?
It comes with eight types of mostly English cheese including Cheddar, Red Leicester, Wensleydale with cranberries and Wensleydale with gingerbread. Yes you read that right, Wensleydale with gingerbread – and believe it or not, it is more revolting than it sounds.
There are not many cheeses that benefit from being cut into small slices and then enveloped in tight fitting vacuum packed plastic and none of them are in this box. Once the limited novelty wears off you may find yourself stuck with a lot of cheese you don’t want. And what are we supposed to do? Keep our Advent calendar in the fridge? Apparently.
Verdict: Oh sweet cheeses.
Star rating: *
Cadbury Advent calendar
€10 for 212g, €47.16 per kg
This (people of a religious bent look away now) Angry Birds themed Advent calendar from the people at Cadbury looks impressive and we can imagine that most children will receive it with delight. They may be less delighted as the month wears on and they realise that on some of the days they are getting no chocolate and on all the other day they just get one type.
All told there are 19 pieces of foil wrapped dairy milk chocolate – which is grand – and five toys and stickers which range from the completely useless to the almost completely useless. This is not a product to buy if you are concerned with the environment as there is a lot of unnecessary packaging and plastic and it seems pricey to us. But – and we have to return to the start here – kids will probably like it.
Verdict: Too much going on
Star rating: * *
Marks & Spencer Advent calendar
€7.50 for 295g, €25.42 per kg
At €7.50 for 295 g this is the cheapest of the (chocolatey) advent calendars we reviewed and it it is not often we get to say Marks & Spencer is the cheapest at anything. We liked the minimalist front which carries a close up image of a Christmas tree and baubles with lots of numbers on them. We are not entirely sure about the non-sequential nature of those numbers mind you. It starts with 24 in the top left corner and then goes to seven and then four and then 10.
While the challenge of finding the right numbers each day might appeal to a small child, finding even the first number wrecked our heads. The caramel filled chocolate behind the door soothed our rage quite a bit. On the second day of Christmas we had a dark chocolate with a strawberry filling which was amazing. We loved the randomness of the chocolate assortment and we would have eaten right up to Christmas Eve in a single sitting if we’d be let.
Verdict: We loved this
Star rating: *****