With the holidays just around the corner, nothing builds excitement like an Advent calendar to mark the days. Savour your own seasonal countdown with a variety of bonbons, beers, wines, whiskies or jams, or gift the experience to a loved one this December.
This marks the fifth year that B.C.-based Parallel 49 Brewing Company and Central City Brewers + Distillers have teamed up to create a beer advent calendar. With both breweries contributing 12 mystery craft beers to the 2018 Alpine Adventure Pack (half of which are completely new), you can look forward to 24 days of very merry brew roulette with beers ranging from session ales to sours.
5 Vines Wine, Craft Beer & Spirits, 218 12 Ave. S.E., 587-955-9221, 5vines.com
Celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with a dozen bottles of beer or wine from Bin 905. Comprised of a broad cross-section of styles and taste profiles, the beer Advent calendars ($150) feature a range of 550- to 750-ml bottles, while the wine calendars ($250) feature full-sized bottles of wine. Bin 905 also provides a third, customizable option in case you’re buying one for a beer-or-wine drinker with strong preferences (price varies).
Bin 905 Wine & Spirits, 2311 4 St. S.W., 403-261-1600, bin905.com
If alcoholic drinks and sweets aren’t your thing, France-based jam company Bonne Maman offers a great alternative with its Advent calendar of 24 honeys, jams and jellies ($36). Popular 2017 flavours like mango peach, morello cherry and purple fig make a return, while new flavours like rhubarb, raspberry & lychee and greengage plum promise to elevate your morning toast. They sell quickly (Calgary’s Italian Centre Shop has already had to re-stock more for this holiday season), so don’t miss your chance to snag one.
Italian Centre Shop, 9919 Fairmont Dr. S.E., 403-238-4869, italiancentre.ca
Don’t be surprised if you’re tempted to eat all of the delicate, hand-painted sweets in The Chocolate Lab’s Advent calendar ($58) at once. If you can hold out, relish in 24 days of gorgeous bonbons in flavours like lavender blueberry, strawberry lemonade, five-spice and chai. But don’t wait to order one — Advent calendars at the Chocolate Lab are known to sellout quickly.
The Chocolate Lab, 202D Centre St. S.E., 403-455-3022, chocolatelab.ca
The beloved Craft Beer Advent Calendar ($138) is back with a new selection of 24 beers that can’t normally be found in Canada. Plucked from 12 countries and shrouded in mystery, the beers are concealed in a box designed to keep each one a secret until the day of consumption, and the company’s Facebook page provides tasting notes that are updated daily.
Various liquor stores, craftbeerimports.ca
Kensington Wine Market’s popular whisky Advent calendar ($375) returns for a fifth year with 24 50-ml samples of premium whiskies and a generous 100-ml pour of Scotch Malt Whisky Society whisky to enjoy on Christmas Day. Drink from a Glencairn glass that’s included with purchase and find tasting notes about the whiskys each day on KWM’s blog.
Kensington Wine Market, 1257 Kensington Road N.W., 403-283-8000, kensingtonwinemarket.com
Award-winning local chocolatier Bernard Callebaut started Master Chocolat in 2015 and is offering chocolate Advent calendars ($60) this holiday season. With 24 chocolate treats in flavours like salted caramel, hazelnut praline, white matcha and orange peel, it makes a great gift for a friend, a significant other or yourself.
Master Chocolat, 5325 4 St. S.E., 403-252-5750, masterchocolat.com
Calgary’s sole mobile candy store, The Sugar Cube, is making the lead up to Christmas a little bit sweeter with its candy Advent calendar featuring 24 boxes of sweets ($80). Each cube is stuffed with 75 to 100 grams of candy, so there should be enough to go around if you feel like sharing. These Advent calendars need to be pre-ordered to arrive in time for December, so get one before it’s too late.
The Sugar Cube, sugarcubeyyc.com
Vinebox offers a different take on the usual wine Advent calendar offerings with its trendy wine-by-the-glass Advent calendar ($130). Not only do the wines come in 12 beautiful vials, but the quantity makes it easy to pour one of the “bold reds” or “rich whites” for an evening drink. And if you find a sparkling gold vial in your calendar, rejoice — it means you’ve won wine all year through Vinebox.
Kensington Wine Market, 1257 Kensington Rd. N.W., 403-283-8000, kensingtonwinemarket.com; Market Wines, 520 77 Ave. S.E., 403-475-9463; Richmond Hill Wines, 108, 3715 51 St. S.W., 403-686-1980, richmondhillwines.com; Vine Arts, 1310 1 St. S.W., 403-290-0700, and 101, 932 17 Ave. S.W., 403-454-1106, vinearts.ca
The wine team at Willow Park Wines & Spirits has pre-selected 12 full-sized bottles of assorted wines for you to enjoy in the days leading up to Christmas. Packaged in a box with doors for each bottle, the calendar ($260) includes tasting notes so you can expertly pair it with Christmas treats. Though each wine is a mystery until removed from the box, the calendar typically includes reds, whites, bubbles and a port.
Willow Park Wines & Spirits, 10801 Bonaventure Dr. S.E., 403-296-1640 and 162, 200 Barclay Parade S.W., 403-262-9463, willowpark.net