The Handbook
The Handbook

Everyone used to complain that ‘in the good old days’ advent calendars just had pictures of angels and mangers behind each door ‘but now it’s all chocolate’. Well a decade or so later chocs behind cardboard is completely passé, it’s all about gin, wine or motorbike parts as you gorge your way down to Christmas.

And of course nothing can come close in terms of marking the countdown to the birth of Christ to an array of stinky cheeses. Which is why you’ll go crackers for these dairy delights…

24 Days of Joy Cheese Advent Calendar from The Mousetrap Cheese Shop

In a surprisingly uncrowded field, this little Herefordshire cheese shop really is churning them out! The 24 Days of Joy include 17 cheeses, three lots of crackers, three chutneys and, unexpectedly, a jar of pickled shallots.

With a variety of sizes, from 100g to 220g (sure it’s small, but how much cheese are you intending to consume on a cold December morning?) all cheeses are vacuum packed to make sure that they last through December and also that they’re not so stinky that you have to keep the whole caboodle in the garage.

Order here: www.mousetrapcheese.co.uk
Price: £95

The Chuckling Cheese Advent Calendar from The Chuckling Cheese Company

I’ve heard of cheese sweating and curdling but never chuckling. But at the Chuckling Cheese Company merriment comes flavoured as cheese.

Protected by colourful wax coatings, there are eight cheeses, with varieties recycled three times over the 24 days. The flavours themselves are somewhat unique, they include Margherita Pizza, Sunday Roast and Christmas Pudding flavours.

We genuinely don’t understand how these cheese will taste, but advent calendars are all about surprises….

Order here: www.chucklingcheese.co.uk
Price: £34.99

Ilchester Cheese Advent Calendar from So Wrong It’s Nom

Self-coined as the original cheese advent calendar (who are we to argue? Our head’s turned by a Dairy Milk one), So Wrong It’s Nom started selling its cheese advent calendar in 2016 when blogger Annem came up with the concept.

Now adopted by Cheese maker Ilchester, the cheesy calendar is mass-produced and shipped as far afield as Canada and Hungary. As a result all the cheeses are of the shrink-wrap school-lunch-box variety.

Order here: www.asda.com
Price: £8

Or the DIY way…

The surprising thing is that there are so very few cheese advent calendars. We could fill reams of column inches on the array of gin calendars, but I only realised after starting this feature that cheese advent calendars are thin on the ground. Which started me thinking…

Firstly there’s a huge niche in the market, and who needs a commercially produced advent calendar in the first place? Make your own!

I only realised after starting this feature that cheese advent calendars are thin on the ground...

First you’ll need a calendar itself. Fortnum & Mason do a rather pretty one here, which will set you back £95 (yes, that’s the same price as the Mousetrap Cheese Company calendar but you can use this every year). Then you load it with cheese.

If needs-be it’s just about small enough to fit in your fridge if you shuffle the shelves around (and it’s not like you’re going to need to cook for dozens this Christmas, so the fridge will probably be pretty bare in 2020), and it’s also quite beautiful and made from wood.

Then you fill it with cheeses of your choice. While you’re shopping at Fortnum’s, check out their selection. Then you’ll want to move on to Paxton & Whitfield, who really are London’s best cheesemongers. Depending on your budget you can stuff the thing full of an array of cheeses, from Aldi to Waitrose.


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