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The Bonne Maman advent calendar is jam-packed and delicious

Fill your December mornings with an array of best-loved conserves

Joanne Gould
Wednesday 13 October 2021 11:27
<p>From spiced flavours to subtle florals, these pretty preserves should keep your Christmas spirit going </p>

From spiced flavours to subtle florals, these pretty preserves should keep your Christmas spirit going

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat, so we may as well join in the fun by picking up a deliciously indulgent advent calendar. Counting down the days until Christmas is made infinitely more enjoyable when each day begins with a sweet treat, but that needn’t mean a chocolate calendar.

The last decade has seen an explosion in the popularity of luxurious advent calendars, with decadent truffles, continental cheese calendars, an advent filled with miniature whiskies, prosecco and innumerable beauty brands getting in on the festive act; there are even calendars for your furry friends these days. But which calendar will you treat yourself to after this year?

We’ve got our mitts on the Bonne Maman advent calendar, from the makers of some of Britain’s best-loved conserves (the ones with the gingham lids) and are willing to be put on Santa’s naughty list by taking a sneak peek to see if its goodies will have us feeling festive.

Offering a plethora of exclusive jams, marmalades and spreads, Bonne Maman’s miniature pots will have your December jam-packed with joyous breakfasts and tea times. From spiced flavours to subtle florals and the finest fruits, these pretty preserves should keep your Christmas spirit going right up until the big day.

How we tested

It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it, so we got to work opening all 24 windows to bring you the lowdown. We were looking for a quality calendar, with a sturdy body itself, and daily surprises that were both exciting and extremely tasty. We were also interested in how Christmassy the jams were, and were looking for everything to be recyclable where possible. After many slices of jammy toast, fruit spiced muffins, pancakes and everything in between, we can finally share our festive findings.

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The Bonne Maman advent calendar: £23.99, Bonnemaman.co.uk

Rating: 8/10

  • Number of days: 24
  • Number of products: 25
  • Size of products: 30g
  • Price: £23.99 + £9 P&P

Packaging

The calendar is the size of most large, luxury calendars and weighs in at just under a kilo (though the conserves make up only 690g of this). The body of the calendar is made from paper and card, making it recyclable but surprisingly robust – the glass jars and gingham lids are too, making it an environmentally friendly choice this advent. The calendar is contained within an outer paper sleeve which keeps it secure and looking pristine until the 1 December.

The sleeve, front, back and inside of the calendar all feature a cosy Christmas cottage design with snow scene and gingerbread style houses, with lots of Bonne Maman illustrations thrown in for good measure. The windows, once opened, reveal a character or object from the scene which continued to thrill the younger members of our household.

What’s inside?

We must have been very good boys and girls this year, because behind the windows you’ll find 23 mini pots of delightfully French fruit conserve. We like that each pot is unique – often with advent calendars a variety is repeated three or four times – so offers a genuine surprise each morning.

And with adventurous, unexpected flavours like the deliciously tart lemon yuzu marmalade or the delicate apricot and lavender spread nestling between crowd-pleasing pots like seedless raspberry conserve (impossibly intense, sweet and fruity) and seasonal varieties including spiced cherry or fig and cardamom, every day of December will be different. Furthermore, this calendar contains a range of exciting flavours and fruit varieties that have not previously been available in the UK, ensuring a memorable breakfast or tea time.

We enjoyed plenty of delicious conserves during our testing

Having sampled the length and breadth of the Bonne Maman advent flavours, we’d highly recommend the beautiful rhubarb and strawberry extra jam as a window to look forward to, but we will refrain from listing the full menu of concealed conserves and spoiling the surprise. PS. as an extra special Christmas treat, days one and 24 have an additional non-edible gift to keep*.

As with all Bonne Maman conserves, these miniature pots boast a high fruit content of between 35-50g of fruit per 100g of conserve and are made using all natural ingredients and traditional preserving methods. Spread on toast, tea cakes, scones or a slice of panettone for an indulgent festive pick-me-up.

Value for money

Unlike the big beauty brands or boozy’ offerings, this advent calendar isn’t so much about value for money as variety and exclusivity. With a full-size conserve from Bonne Maman retailing at just under £3, you can definitely get more berries for your buck by stocking up on jars from the supermarket than relying on the 690g of jam this calendar gets you. But that’s really not the point of this calendar. Instead, pour yourself a cuppa and revel in your 23 different flavours of jams, marmalades and spreads galore safe in the knowledge you can’t get them in the shops.

The verdict: Bonne Maman advent calendar

Any fan of jam on toast would be happy to receive this calendar to count down to Christmas, and we found that age didn’t matter a jot when it came to enjoying its wares. Little ones were thrilled with opening the windows (as were we) and discovering the flavours, while older family members appreciated the inventive and seasonal flavours and the usefulness of the calendar. We all enjoyed picking which spread to enjoy on any given day. Though this calendar isn’t super-affordable, we think it represents value for money in how many products you get, and the fact that each pot is likely to be used (unlike with a lot of beauty calendars, or even chocolates that you may not be keen on). You know it’ll be a joyeux noel with this much jam.

*Look away now if you’d rather not know the extra gifts. Jam lovers will receive a Bonne Maman branded stainless steel teaspoon and a cute Christmas tree ornament.

Bonne Maman advent calendar

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After more festive indulgence? Read our review of the The White Company’s advent calendar for 2021

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