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There was a time not long ago when all you'd find in Advent calendars were nibbles of chocolate and other so-so sweets. Nothing against chocolate (CNET is pro-chocolate) but times have changed and these daily December tastings go way beyond simple sweet stuff in 2021. The season has never been better for those seeking a delicious food or drink surprise on each day in the run-up to Christmas.
The best Advent calendar varies according to your tastes, but if you and your crew are passionate about exploring good food and even better drinks, these tasty 2021 calendars will get you into the spirit. We're talking all sorts of edible and drinkable treats, including cult favorites like, , cheese and .
A quick note on inventory: Advent calendars are often made in limited supply and so there's reason to believe many of the most popular ones will sell out or experience shipping delays. This can make snagging the best ones a scrappy affair. Some of the top-rated calendars will such asor have sold out in the past. so order yours as soon as possible to ensure it arrives on time.
For a fun food adventure for the family, these are CNET's picks for the best edible Advent calendars in 2021, which we update periodically. (Note: Prices shown don't include shipping and handling where applicable.) We've also noted calendars that aren't available yet for order and will update this article when they are.
You want gourmet bonbons in December? Then you gotta snatch this Lady M Advent calendar up before it's sold out. The boutique bakery made its name for those ridiculously delicious Mille Crêpes cakes but this calendar features 24 of the confectioner's excellent bonbons. Flavors include brownie chocolate, early grey crunch, passion fruit pearls and rose jelly.
It also has a gold strap just like a chic handbag making this my favorite Advent calendar design so far in 2021.
With 24 adorably petite jars of different limited-edition jams and jellies (plus honey), all of which are free of high fructose corn syrup and totally all-natural, this is perfect for any toast lover on your list this holiday season (or, you know, yourself). There's a mix of both new and classic flavors, including cherry with hibiscus flower, passion fruit and peach with jasmine. This sold out fast last Christmas season -- and every Christmas before that -- so don't hesitate if preserves are your jam!
There's no reason to leave your best four-legged friend out of the Advent calendar tradition either. This one is filled with three different types of rawhide-free chews that are easy to digest and sure to delight, made with real chicken and sweet potatoes. If you want to lavish them with even more affection, get them a pet food delivery subscription for Christmas. Because even dogs don't want another sweater.
For a loose leaf tea drinker, this is the clear pick for an Advent calendar in 2021. Enjoy a different one of Vahdam's many delicate in-house tea blends each day in December until Christmas.
December is a sprint and you'll need your protein to get through it. A tasting of 25 different jerkies should do the trick and that's what you'll get with Man Crates' Jerky Advent calendar. Try flavors like garlic, honey bourbon, whiskey maple and Thai satay right up until the big day.
This delightful wooden gift box looks like a stack of presents -- and each of the 12 drawers contains a different candy treat such as Moose Munch, chocolate-covered cherries, truffles, mints and malt balls. And once the confections are gone, the box can be reused for years to come. The calendars start shipping Oct. 13.
If it's matcha that makes you merry, this calendar will have you seeing (and sipping) green. It hides a mix of high-quality green tea blends as well as green tea-infused treats like matcha honey, chocolate and even vegan matcha gummies shaped like alligators
Yet another way to treat a sweet tooth, this whimsically designed calendar hides creamy, handmade caramels in 12 amazing flavors like Tapped Maple, Cinnamon Clove, Dark Roasted Mocha, Chocolate Peppermint and Ginger Fusion -- as well as classic Vanilla. The small-batch candies are slow cooked in copper kettles using the best (and fewest) ingredients possible.
For wannabe wizards, this Harry Potter-themed calendar conceals a mix of candies that even muggles will love, including Fizzing Whizbees, Gummy Frogs, Butterscotch Drops and (of course) Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. Cast your summoning charm ASAP because we're guessing these will sell out before you can say accio!
Williams Sonoma is offering a lavishly illustrated chocolate Advent calendar filled with the usual milk chocolate confections, but even those of us who eagerly await each season's hater's guide to its Christmas catalog must admit, its peppermint bark is fire. This cute calendar contains 24 pieces of it in festive shapes. Good luck not getting ahead of yourself.
Tea lovers, look no further. In this advent calendar from Parisian tea company Palais des Thés, you get 24 different teas so you can enjoy a fresh cup every morning leading up to Christmas. Naturally, the red and gold design is très chic.
There's a wide range of chocolate Advent calendars, from the cheap (and waxy) drugstore kind to high-end luxury advent calendar versions that are way beyond any Secret Santa budget. But for a fairly priced option and solid quality too, you can't go wrong with Godiva. Everyone knows it, everyone loves it and it's packed into a charmingly illustrated Advent calendar that'll make you smile even before you fetch your daily piece of creamy chocolate.
The charming snowy Victorian storefront conceals 12 different flavors of popcorn, including salted caramel, toffee apple and cinnamon, banoffee pie, pumpkin spice, double chocolate, tiramisu and gingerbread. And none of them contain artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. But all of them are suitable for vegetarians. If it sells out at World Market, you can order directly from the company in the UK for shipping to the US and Canada.
This bright and cheerful Advent calendar is filled with 24 different festive tea flavors to brew up fresh excitement each day this December. You'll find blends like Winter Earl Grey, Candy Cane Crush, Gingerbread Blondie and Chocolate Chili Chai in this mix.
Savory advent calendars are fairly rare but this one would be special even if they weren't -- because it's full of nine varieties of fine cheese (like smoky Applewood British cheddar and herbal Ilchester Derby with sage), all suitable for vegetarians. It will be available at select Target stores, as well as Supervalu, Sprouts, Schnucks, Meijer, Jewel, Lidl and Publix locations starting in November. Check back for more details.
If you or your lucky gift recipient prefers java to tea, this compact package holds 24 craft coffees (ground or whole bean) to jolt you into a jolly mood -- but the brand also offers a tea Advent calendar of its own, as well as a hot cocoa advent calendar for those who want to wind down with a cozy cup of chocolate.
This adorably festive calendar houses 24 different candies (four pieces of each), from apple frogs and merry berries to birthday cookie bites and Santa's donuts and is perfect for the person with a sweet tooth in your life who's tired of the usual chocolate -- if such people actually exist.
This year, wine subscription service Vinebox is offering a Home for the Holidays version of its popular wine advent calendar. It contains 12 glasses of wine (a mix of red and white -- and potentially a surprise winter rosé) expertly curated from all over Europe, in a sleek, sophisticated package to boot. Drink one every night (or day) to wind down 2021, or give it as a sure-to-be-appreciated gift this Christmas season.
If your cravings are more carnivorous, check out this amazing pork crackling Advent calendar. It's filled with 24 mini bags of crunchy pig skin snacks in six different flavors -- Pigs in Blankets, Low and Slow BBQ, Maple, Black Pepper, Salt 'n' Vinegar and Perfectly Salted. We'll update this when it becomes available for order in 2021.
For those who prefer their good cheer in stronger liquid form, this calendar serves up 24 1.7-ounce pours of whiskey from around the globe, plus a Glencairn glass, Flaviar coaster and tasting notes for everything you'll be sipping. There is a lovely mix of offerings from every region of the whiskey-producing world -- Japan, Australia, Scotland, Ireland, US -- all packaged in a fun space-themed case.
I can't think of a better gift for a spirits lover than this one. But unfortunately, these boozy calendars are sold out for this year.
If you're near an Aldi, it's also bringing back its cult-favorite wine advent calendar for 2021, in stores on Nov. 3. It features a mix of red, white and bubbly in 24 mini bottles. Look out for several other Advent calendars in store this holiday season too, including ones for beer, hard seltzer, chocolate, cheese and both cat and dog treats -- you can pretty much check off everyone on your list.
If there's a more fun way to try some new wines this December, I don't know about it. This calendar features 12 FULL bottles of wine in a mix of styles from some serious wineries. Winemakers represented include BR Cohn, Fireside, Laetitia Vineyards and more. If you haven't done the math, that's less than $8 a bottle -- making this quite possibly the best holiday gift for a wine drinker on your list.
You can order now and the "calendars" will start shipping on Nov. 29.
A version of this story originally posted last year, but it's been updated with new picks for 2021.