2020’s Best Craft Chocolate Advent Calendars

We’re back again this holiday season! For 2020, we found the absolute best and most beautiful chocolate advent calendars by top chocolatiers of fine and craft chocolate around the globe. In our list, there are more than 14 advent calendars in all, in various shapes, designs and sizes from makers like Vosges Haut Chocolate, Le Chocolat des Francais, Zotter Chocolates, Hotel du Chocolat, Chocolat Alain Ducasse, PLAYinChoc, and more. Which one is your favorite?

What’s a chocolate advent calendar? Generally, it’s a container with tiny compartments and paper doors hiding chocolates, and it begins Dec 1st to count down the 24 days before Christmas — you open one compartment a day to reveal a chocolate morsel, truffle, bar, etc. December is coming soon, so order (or pre-order) your calendar today.

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Shop Chocolate For Fall/Winter & Save: Our Picks from the Bar & Cocoa Anniversary Sale

Bar & Cocoa’s anniversary sale has arrived and gives 12% almost everything until September 26th!

Why should the fashion sector have all of the fun with anniversary sales? After all, craft chocolate is a luxury sector, too, and like fashion, it has new collections that come out every season. 😉 Why not take advantage of this sale to stock up on some delicious chocolate to enjoy at home? Here are our picks.

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Marou Chocolat: A Flavor Journey

This post was written in 2017 and updated in 2020.

Marou Chocolat: Faiseurs de Chocolat bars are fairly small in size with gorgeous packaging and a thin weight.The experience of tasting this bar was a definite time cupsoul and deserves some attention.

The package for the Marou, Tien Giang 70% single origin dark chocolate bar, is a beautiful rich purple colored paper with shiny gold lettering and cocoa bean drawings. Glimmering gold paper enveloping the chocolate bar peeks out from underneath of the purple wrapping, and it’s easy to slide the bar out slowly or simply to tear the paper right off. Unwrap the packaging from around the chocolate and discover the thin chocolate rectangle with diamonds.

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Musings; Zotter’s Labooko Dark Chocolate, 90% Bolivia

This post was written in 2018 and updated in 2020.

Good morning from Washington, DC.

Yesterday was a nice 60 degree weather day. Time Cupsoul walked around the National Mall, exploring new coffee and chocolate shops in this great city.

Time cupsouls — experiencing them — are about inspiration and serenity at the same time. It’s about finding the quiet moment and receiving some answers, some clarity.

This week, a friend was relaying that most ingenious ideas are first sparked alone. This means that ideas are less formed in group brainstorming sessions and what’s ideal for breakthrough is to spend time alone and then bring the novelty to a group for feedback. So, this is Time Cupsoul bringing the very soul of “time cupsoul” to you, readers. How can Time Cupsoul’s site be better? What would you like to see more of? What can change? Please send a message or leave a comment on this article.

On to the chocolate…!

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SOMA Chocolatemaker: Embodying the Essence of Chocolate

This article was written in 2018 and updated in 2020.

The 70 percent dark chocolate bar from Dreketi, Vanua Levu Island, Fiji, by Soma Chocolatemaker had a big reputation to live up to…

  1. Time Cupsoul had never eaten chocolate from Fiji
    • According to the brands’ packaging, Fiji’s national flag touts a cacao pod in lions paws (reputation signal and/or national pride, perhaps?) and also explains that, the Fijian concept of “vanua” means the land as an “extension of oneself; including one’s life, sustenance and culture”
  2. The tasting notes on the bar were listed as “chocolate, honey and grapefruit”
  3. The Soma Chocolatemaker chocolate molding is one of the most whimsical in the industry, notable for intricate details and a romantic rendition of the cacao forest (cacao pods, tropical birds, and cacao flowers)
aerial view of beach and huts
Photo by Damon Hall on Pexels.com

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Just How Good is “Beyond Good” (Madecasse) Chocolate?

This post is dedicated to a dear friend who was returning to Asia when we first wrote this post in 2017. She loves lemurs from Madagascar.

Beyond Good’s (formerly Madecasse) Madagascar Pure Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa bar is not just beyond good, it’s amazing. It’s made with heirloom cocoa, which is “one of Earth’s original varieties of cocoa,” is a direct trade bar, and is bean-to-bar. The bar is gluten free, vegan, kosher and uses no GMOs, as according to the packaging. The company is based out of Brooklyn, NYC, the United States.

What drew Time Cupsoul to Madecasse? Probably the amazing lemur logo that holds a cocoa bean, and the soft pink color that surrounds the packaging. The bar (branding) looked bright, friendly and happy.

white and black long coated animal
Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

Opening the aluminum wrapper, the chocolate bar was revealed. The Beyond Good molding (shape of the chocolate) is a sequence of squares with lines. Nothing like the fancy molding of La Naya, but still a beautifully presented bar.

After snapping a small portion off of the bar, it soon lingered on the tongue and began to slowly unfold in elegant, excitable flavors. Initially, the first overall impression that came through was: fruity.

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How to Add Cocoa Nibs to Your Daily Recipes [8 Ideas]

What are cocoa nibs and how can you add them to your daily recipes? Cocoa nibs are chocolate. Perhaps even the healthiest form of chocolate because they are 100% cocoa. Why? Cocoa nibs are small pieces of cocoa beans with their shells removed. The shell removal happens in a step in the chocolate-making process called “winnowing.”

Did you know that chocolate is a “superfood”? It has one of the highest sources of magnesium of all foods, provides calcium, and has higher antioxidants per gram than goji berries, red wine or pomegranates! Check out this article for more health facts about cacao.

When you enjoy cocoa nibs without added sugar, you’re basically enjoying chocolate in its purest form. You can also enjoy cocoa nibs on top of craft chocolate bars.

Check out our list of chocolate bars topped with cocoa nibs and eight ideas for how to use cocoa nibs in your recipes.

1. put cocoa nibs in your smoothie (or on top of your smoothie bowl)

“Banana smoothie bowl topped with coconut flakes, sesame seeds, raw chocolate and peanut butter” by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

2. Add them to your favorite trail mix

round white ceramic bowl
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

3. use cocoa nibs as a new ice cream topping

“ice-cream-cone” by jessp713 is marked with CC PDM 1.0

4. sprinkle them on top of yogurt

person mixing cereal milk and strawberry jam on white ceramic bowl
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

5. mix cocoa nibs into granola

photo of nuts on wooden board
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

6. try a new recipe: make brownies or cookies with them

cup of coffee and sweet dessert on table
Photo by Dima Valkov on Pexels.com

7. Try cocoa nibs in your pasta sauce!

a plate of spaghetti on table
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

8. enjoy a craft chocolate bar topped with nibs

food love coffee dark
Photo by Rohtopia.com on Pexels.com

Ready to make a new recipe with cocoa nibs?

Perhaps try these cocoa nibs from Marou Chocolate. To learn more about Marou Chocolate, a Vietnam-based chocolate company, check out the video below and/or read our article on Marou.

For a craft chocolate bar topped with nibs, we might suggest one of the bars, below.

We’ve haven’t had a chance to try all of these brands yet, but we do love Dick Taylor’s bars and are excited to try the rest very soon.

Lastly, we enjoyed the video below from CraftChocolateTV with Manoa Chocolate. They have even more ideas on how to use cocoa nibs, like making cocoa nib tea!

Be sure to practice food safety with cocoa nibs (and in general), and note that nothing on this post is making any health claims. When you change your daily routine, please consult your doctor or accredited medical professional.

Hope that these ideas provided some recipe inspiration! Let us know how you enjoyed cocoa nibs – post a comment below!

This post contains just a few affiliate links, which means that if you click through and buy something, you may help support an insatiable coffee and chocolate habit 🙂 Any written opinions here are by time cupsoul/our own.