The most delicious countdown to Christmas
Do you remember the days when you got up in the morning and the first thought you had was to ask: how many sleeps until it's Christmas? You rushed to the wall where your Mum and Dad hung your advent calendar so you could open a window each day and find a tiny piece of milk chocolate shape. Then, as you got older, the excitement of the countdown lessened and the chocolates in the calendar got boring too.
No wonder, many companies started to fill up their advent calendars with different items instead of the boring milk chocolate pieces.
Now let me ask: why didn't they think about putting better quality chocolates inside instead? Some chocolate companies took that step, yet most of these calendars still display just one kind of chocolate within. Not that exciting.
Little Beetle Chocolates brings you the very first mixed craft chocolate advent calendar
I discovered craft chocolates in 2013 at the London Chocolate Show. Before that it was commercial chocolates, then Belgian chocolates. The moment I tasted a Venezuelan dark chocolate made by a new Belgian bean-to-bar chocolate maker Benoit Nihant, I was hooked. There was no turning back. I accumulated an impressive stash of various craft chocolates by the end of 2015 and I had the idea of using some of them to fill my own Advent Calendar instead of buying one. This is how it all started.
I did this again in 2016 and 2017, sharing my daily chocolates on Instagram and people really liked the idea. I wanted to make this a bigger thing ever since and to share this exciting countdown with more people. So I decided to create this mixed Taste. Better. Chocolate. Advent Calendar to help you discover the amazing variety of chocolates available and to support cacao farmers and small chocolate maker businesses.
24 days = 24 different makers = 24 different chocolates
Each day, you will have the chance to discover a new maker and a new chocolate made from premium quality, ethically sourced cacao beans. The makers featured in this very first limited edition Taste. Better. Chocolate. Advent Calendar are all small or medium-sized businesses, most of them family-owned and operating on a small-batch basis.*
- 8 makers from the United Kingdom
- 12 makers from the rest of Europe
(including: France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Danemark, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia)
- 3 makers from the United States
- 1 maker from Vanuatu
Whether you are completely new to craft chocolates or you are a real chocolate enthusiast, you will find immense pleasure discovering each day's new chocolate sample.
- cacao origins will include: Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Congo, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Vietnam, Sao Tomé, Haiti, Tanzania, Vanuatu, Grenada, Madagascar and some blends and inclusions
Some of the samples will be already popular pieces, some of them will be very recent or not widely available on the market, and there will be a few that were created for the sole purpose of being featured in this special calendar (this means you'll only be able to taste them if you get a calendar this year!).
I carefully selected the makers based on their inspiring stories, I personally know many of them and I keep in touch with them on a regular basis. What's more, they themselves know the cacao farmers who produce the cocoa beans used in their chocolates. So by having a Taste. Better. Chocolate. Advent Calendar you will enter this transparent supply chain and directly help maintain an ethical and eco-friendly craft chocolate industry.
Ethical, directly traded, premium quality ingredients, less sugar and no nasty additives
Many people decide not to have a chocolate advent calendar because they think that chocolate is bad for you. The truth is: it's not cocoa but sugar that isn't so good for your health if consumed in large amounts. Once you start discovering craft chocolates, you will notice that they use much less sugar than commercial chocolate bars and the array of flavours you can taste in each individual bar are so diverse that you won't believe that they don't contain any added flavours (except the ones with inclusions, but those will be clearly stated).
Don't be afraid of the DARK
Most of the samples in the Taste. Better. Chocolate. Advent Calendar are dark chocolates with a higher cocoa content. Be adventurous, be brave, believe in your tastebuds. Tasting is very subjective, so it is possible that you won't like a certain sample but you'll want to live off another one for the rest of your life. And don't be surprised if your best friend is the exact opposite. But in general, craft chocolates won't give you that burned, bitter cocoa flavour that you are accustomed to if you have tasted commercial dark chocolates before.
Also, don't be shy and think you aren't gourmet enough to taste such special chocolates because you won't appreciate them. These chocolates speak for themselves. They will delight you, fascinate you, inspire you with their unique character and you won't have to second-guess. Just sit back and enjoy flavour journey.
A box to keep, reuse or recycle
I love DIY things (see my own crochet calendar above) and my favourite Christmas style is a simple, Nordic look with lots of natural materials. I wanted the calendar to reflect the same ideas as the chocolates within: eco-friendly, handmade, natural.
Instead of opening perforated windows, I opted for reusable sachets. You can keep them in the box or you can hang them up with their little red ribbon. This uniform, natural look gives a nice contrast to the colourful confetti of chocolate samples that you'll discover when you open the calendar each day.
Durability was another key factor, I want you to be able to keep the box and the little sachets for the following years and reuse them if you'd like. You can fill them again with chocolates, little notes, or other small things. If you decide not to keep it, you can still recycle it (and please do so!).
Each box will get a beautiful screen printed lid matching the sachets' design inside.
The snowflakes also represent the infinite diversity of cacao. The same way you cannot find two exactly matching snowflakes, you won't find two of the same chocolates. The maker, the flavour, the cacao origin, the shape, the size will all be different every single day.
The smallest amount of support is as valuable as the highest. As one of my friends said: "Anything that is more than 0 will bring you closer to reaching your goal" [Peter H.]. I will personally thank you all for supporting my dream project come true, and apart from mentions on my website and social media channels, from as little as £5 you'll receive fun and delicious rewards.
£5 - You will receive a photo of your first name written in chocolate. Use it as a signature at the end of your emails, you'll be super trendy. All backers with a pledge of £5 or more will receive this reward.
£10 - You will receive a personalised Thank You card from me with 4 pieces of craft chocolates for you to enjoy. Discover some of my favourite makers and bars specially selected for this project. This can be a perfect stocking-filler too! All backers with a pledge of £10 or more will receive the Thank You card.
£19 - You will receive 12 amazing craft chocolate pieces from various chocolate makers and exciting cacao origins.
£49 - The real deal! This is what it's all about. The very first, limited edition Taste. Better. Chocolate. Advent Calendar filled with 24 different craft chocolates from around the world! As an Early Bird offer, the first 30 backers (at this reward tier) will receive an additional chocolate gift! Browse the booklet included to learn more about the makers and their chocolates. Use the guide to help you taste mindfully and to maximise your tasting experience.
£95 - Naughty or Nice?! Will you open your calendar twice a day, or are you so kind that you will share it with someone else? Anyway, you will receive 2 full sets of Taste. Better. Chocolate. Advent Calendar filled with 24 different craft chocolates from around the world! As an Early Bird offer, the first 10 backers (at this reward tier) will receive an additional chocolate gift! Browse the booklet included to learn more about the makers and their chocolates. Use the guide to help you taste mindfully and to maximise your tasting experience.
£120 - Private Group chocolate tasting session online. How does this work? We agree on a date and time for the tasting and I will send you a tasting box of selected craft chocolate pieces in advance. You gather with your group (maximum 8 people) and I will join you in a video call to guide you through the delicious samples and to help you explore a better way to enjoy craft chocolates and share your experience with others. 1.5 hour of pure fun, interactive and delicious tasting session. This can be a perfect team-building or themed party event too. Flexible and convenient. You only have to make sure that you don't eat the chocolate in advance :)
£150 - Private Group chocolate tasting session in Budapest, Hungary. How does this work? We agree on a date and time for the tasting. I'll meet you and your group (maximum 12 people) at your home (or any other previously agreed location within Budapest) and I will bring lots of delicious chocolate samples. After a short introduction about chocolate making you'll be offered chocolates from various origins, different makers and different recipes to show you the amazing diversity you can find in craft chocolates. 1.5 hour of pure fun, interactive and delicious tasting session. This can be a perfect team-building or themed party event.
£200 - Private Group chocolate pairing session in Budapest, Hungary. How does this work? We agree on a date and time for the tasting. I'll meet you and your group (maximum 12 people) at your home (or any other previously agreed location within Budapest) and I will bring lots of delicious chocolate samples. A sommelier will also join us to explain about the various pairings we chose for our chocolate samples. Prepare your taste buds for some extraordinary flavour combinations! 1.5 hour of interesting, adventurous and unexpected tasting session. This can be a perfect team-building or themed party event too.
As a small business myself, I don't have endless funds to create several hundred or thousand calendars (or I wouldn't be on Kickstarter right now). So this year, I will only release a very limited number of only 200 Advent Calendars! With your support, I can make sure that these 200 advent calendars will look exactly how I imagined them to be and that they will contain some of the best craft chocolates you can find right now.
The majority of the funding goes into purchasing the chocolate pieces from 24 different chocolate makers and shipping (from around the world) and of course into creating the Advent Calendar box itself (design, printing, assembly, packaging). The rest of the funds will go towards marketing and PR, Kickstarter fees and shipping.
Here's a detailed breakdown of the costs mentioned above:
- 24x 200 pieces of chocolate (4-10g each)
- hiring a professional designer to design the calendar and accompanying materials
- printing 200 calendars at a professional printing company (higher costs due to small order amount)
- packaging and shipping
- creation of other rewards
- admin and Kickstarter fees
- marketing and PR fees
£ 6000 - this is as low as possible so that I can release 200 calendars in 2018.
£ 8000 - Stretch Goal - it would allow me to create more tasting packs and secure the afterlife of the Advent Calendar for 2019. If I reach this goal, each backer pledging to get a calendar will receive the extra chocolate gift (not just the Early Bird backers).
How can you help?
There are two very easy ways for you to get involved in this project.
1) Make a pledge.
I really appreciate your support. Can you spare £1 or more? I'll be forever grateful and you'll even receive some chocolates in most cases (depending on the rewards you choose). By directly supporting this campaign you'll receive all the updates about the project and become part of a wonderful community of craft chocolate lovers.
2) Share this campaign with your family, friends, colleagues.
The more people this project can reach, the more likely the campaign will be funded. This means lots of happy people opening their special advent calendar this December.
Even if you don't want one, chances are, you know some people who do. So please, if you like the idea and want to support a small business (supporting other small businesses and a more ethical, transparent and sustainable chocolate production), talk about this project to others, share our campaign page in email and on your social media platforms.
Get in touch
Do you have any questions? Do you want to suggest another type of reward for the campaign? Any comments? Please, do get in touch!
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my social media channels.
Thank you so much!
I wish you a chocolatey day.
Lilla / Little Beetle Chocolates
* Little Beetle Chocolates Ltd. reserves the rights to change the chocolate makers (brands) and/or chocolates included in the advent calendar from the list presented here.
Risks and challenges
Working together with 24 different chocolate makers living all over the world is quite a challenge. Organising orders, shipping and collecting all the different samples is tricky.
Some maker might pull out last minute (for whatever reason), samples can get lost or damaged in transit. Please be aware that although all care has been taken by the chocolate makers and myself, some chocolate squares might be broken by the time they get to you as chocolate (especially tiny pieces like these) is very fragile. This does not alter the quality and taste of the chocolate however, so I hope you'll still enjoy tasting them.
The calendar might get printed in a different way and some samples might not fit (very unlikely though).
I personally will make sure to overcome these possible risks and ensure that the calendars get to you in full shape, filled with awesome chocolates and in time for the 1st December.
If any of the above changes happen, I will replace the missing samples with another chocolate (this could mean that there will be several samples by the same maker, but never the exact same chocolate!)
In case of any other major and unforeseen event, of course I have to mention the risk of a late fulfilment. This means that you won't be able to use the calendar to countdown until Christmas, but you'll still have an awesome chocolate selection to indulge in whenever you decide to. I honestly hope that this won't ever happen and I will do everything I can to make sure that fulfilment happens on time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)