Jam-A-Rama: Part 1

A food influencer I follow on Instagram and Tik Tok has in fact influenced me. I have been thoroughly influenced into buying Bonne Maman’s Advent Calendar.

The Bonne Maman Advent Calendar, 2022. The front of it has images of reindeer and little jams, along with presents, wreaths, and stockings. It is a generally festive box.

Athena ScalziIf you have never heard of Bonne Maman, it is a jam/jelly brand that’s pretty common in most grocery stores. It’s like a nicer Smucker’s.

When I went to order this back in December, it was actually on back order and said it wouldn’t be arriving until January. This was fine by me since I don’t really mind eating festive things after the festivities have passed. I did think that it should be on sale if that was the case, but it was still the full fifty dollars.

One thing to know about me is that I simply love the idea of advent calendars, and am a huge fan of them in theory. In execution, however, I have been severely disappointed by basically every advent calendar I’ve ever bought (I’m looking at you, Williams Sonoma Baking Advent Calendar).

This one, though, is the epitome of what an advent calendar should be. Twenty-three one-ounce jars of different flavored fruit spreads, and one honey.

A list on the top of the box that says every single fruit spread flavor (and honey) in the box.

Look at that consistency! All jam, no bullshit (and one honey).

The inside of the advent calendar, unfolded to reveal all 24 days. It is decorated the same as the front of the box.

It unfolds like a big book into this!

So I started punchin’ the numbers.

The first day of the calendar, punched out to reveal the jam inside.

Since there are 24 items in the calendar, I decided to just do four at a time. That way the posts aren’t too long.

So here’s days 1-4:

The four jams lined up alongside each other in front of the advent calendar.

We have Rhubarb-Strawberry:

Me, holding the tiny jar of jam.

Orange, Yuzu, and Grapefruit:

Me, holding the tiny jam.


Me, holding the tiny jam.

And finally, Mirabelle Plum and Linden Blossom:

You guessed it, it's me holding a tiny jam.

I decided to try these on toast. The bread I used is Pepperidge Farm’s Farmhouse Butter Bread, which is just a thick white bread I buy from Kroger. I also like their Honey White and Sweet Hawaiian, though.

Two pieces of toast cut in half so there's four pieces, each one spread with a different jam.

I toasted two pieces, then cut both pieces in half and spread each with a different jam. Admittedly, they all look pretty much the same.

Upon trying the Rhubarb-Strawberry, I was shocked to find that it didn’t really taste like much. It was very mild in flavor, and I didn’t feel like I was getting any rhubarb from it. It was more just like a weak strawberry.

Next was the triple citrus one, the Orange-Yuzu-Grapefruit. I was actually excited to see that yuzu was included in this one, since yuzu is a flavor I pretty much only have when I try Japanese snacks. Sadly, though, I wasn’t a huge fan of this one, as I don’t really like grapefruit, and it was definitely grapefruit heavy. It was too bitter for me. Also, this spread in particular was very liquid-y, so much so that I almost switched to a spoon to spread it instead of a butter knife.

Following that was the Apricot-Peach, which I kind of thought would be my favorite, as I love peach jam. However, it ended up tasting a lot more like apricots than peaches. I suppose that’s why they put it first in the name of it, but wow was it apricot-y. I prefer peaches over apricots, so that was a bit disappointing, but it was still good and fairly sweet overall.

Finally, the Mirabelle Plum and Linden Blossom. I’m pretty sure I’ve never had linden blossom before, so I was interested to see what kind of flavor that would bring to the table. The answer, as you might have guessed, is floral. This jam was sweet and floral, and really quite pleasant. I enjoyed it a lot.

After trying all four of them on toast, I thought to myself that there was no way the first one was really that weak. It had to have been the bread dampening the flavor of it. So, I tried all four again with a spoon. Nothing between me and the jam, just pure flavor.

This made a world of difference. Everything tasted better, and things like the rhubarb and peach finally came through where they really didn’t before. However, I feel like trying them plain isn’t really doing anyone any favors, because you’re most likely not going to eat the jam plain. It’s important how it tastes on bread, because you will probably be eating it on bread, or on something else that might dampen the flavor of it compared to just trying it straight out of the jar.

Anyways, there’s the first four! Which looks the best to you? Have you ever been disappointed by an advent calendar? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!


38 Comments on “Jam-A-Rama: Part 1”

  1. I love the full-size Bonne Maman jars, they are the best to re-use for other things (even as drinking glasses)

    A bunch of little versions of them – hmmm, I’ve got some ideas

    Too bad about the yuzu flavored jam, although being partial to marmalade, I’d probably like it a bit bitter…

  2. I had to stop getting tea advent calendars. I love tea. I drink so much tea. But I am also very picky about my tea, and inevitably, the advent calendars I have gotten for that have always had way more teas that I didn’t like than that I did. It’s a big bummer.

  3. We got that Advent calendar this year! We still have a little stack of jars in the fridge.

    I liked the pear with cocoa nibs the best, I think, although I haven’t tried all of them. There was another strawberry flavor I enjoyed too — the strawberry and verbena, I think.

    I’m usually on the other side of the Advent calendar — we have a wooden one and it has been my job to fill it. Some years have been more creative than others. ;)

  4. I got this for my son who loves jam. But I stole the pear e cocoa nibs and the fog and cardamom ones. They were delicious.

  5. My spouse and I share the Diamine Inkvent calendar, which is 100% fountain pen ink (we are both fountain pen and ink enthusiasts). We’ve thoroughly enjoyed both the 2021 and 2022 versions. This is pretty niche – I can’t recommend it to anyone who’s not already at least somewhat interested – but it lives up to its promise well! Plus we get enough of every ink for both of us to use and see if we want a bigger bottle.

  6. Toast is a bit dull. Instead, you could test how well each remaining kind of jam goes with each remaing kind of popcorn….

  7. My sister and I received this as a gift- we had nightly toast adventures through December. Of these four, I liked apricot/peach best, but I love apricots.

    Having eaten all the jam, we are now having hot chocolate tastings.

  8. I love mixing jam into plain yogurt. I’ve got a huge Costco Bonne Mamman jar that’s approaching its end right now because I maybe love it a little too much… Anyway, you could give that a try in addition to toast.

  9. I bought some Mandalorian chocolate Advent calendars that are abysmal. Cute yes but the chocolate is so bad I had to spit it out. It’s worse than hamster chocolate.

  10. You might find the grapefruit nicely offset by some kind of cheese and maybe a slice of cucumber, on a cracker.

    The bitter citrus marmalades can also make a nice cooking jam, spread over a pork loin roast in the oven, for instance.

  11. Bonne Maman is my personal fave when it comes to cherry jam and chestnut paste; both are wonderful in making pastries.

    Linden flower is one of those I find very yum!

  12. Some friends of mine bought a cat-toy Advent calendar from one of the big box pet stores (I don’t recall offhand if it was Petco or PetSmart). Don’t waste your money; at least half the toys were metallic Mylar, and a damaged intestinal tract waiting to happen if/when the cat shreds it.

    We had an Advent calendar when my brother and I were kids that was a felt wall hanging showing a Christmas tree, with 24 little pockets for ornaments that would be pinned to the tree each day. It was a nice way to keep two little kids from driving Mom nuts with “how long to Christmas” questions.

  13. We got a nice looking beer advent calendar this past year, unfortunately most of the beer was IPAs which neither of us like very much, too hoppy. I would definitely try the jam calendar that you got as we love Bonne Maman normally, especially their fig preserves.

  14. Skip the toast, use water crackers instead. Cleaner flavor, still has the starchy carbs.

  15. I was gonna comment about how the family that owns Bonne Maman company is famous for rescuing Jews during the Holocaust, but my due-diligence research uncovered that that story is unconfirmed. So, I learned something today. Thanks to you.

  16. wow, lots of engagement with this one.

    I like that you went with a sampling method instead of just the straight one-per-day as would have fit the Advent countdown method of having a different little treat each day, since you know mid-January and all.

    I imagine that this would make for a nice little afternoon tea treat on a less sweet and flavorful bread, or perhaps a crispy cracker. That said, looking at my kitchen counter I see that once again my youngest daughter shares similar tastes with you :)

    I am curious to hear all about the 23 different flavors. I can’t imagine that I have sampled more than 4 of their offerings.

  17. Great review! My sister gives me advent calendars for my pets, which they like, and which I spread out so they still get some after Christmas and New Year. I agree that the type of bread or cracker probably makes a big difference, since you found the flavors different when tasted solo. Looking forward to the next.

  18. I’d be inclined to try the various jars on actual fresh bread rather than toast. I’ve been using a bread machine for many years and make a small loaf that lasts me two days, breakfast on fresh bread days is bread and jam with a suitable layer of butter and on the alternate days toast and marmalade. Marmalade on fresh bread isn’t so good and jam on toast can lose flavours.

    Current jam is grape and crab something (grapes from the vine on the south facing back wall of my house and crab somethings from the tree the council planted on the grass verge outide my house. The fruit is somewhere between a tiny apple and a tiny pear with very little flavour of its own, but bags of pectin to help other fruit jam set properly), the strawberry made from the corner shop’s overstock seemed to evaporate and unfortunately my neighbours plum tree stopped producing a couple of years ago.

  19. I’ve never been disappointed in an advent calendar because the only advent calendars I’ve ever had were Legos, and I knew going in what I would be getting.
    Food-based advent calendars sound like a great way to get a sampler of a company’s products. I would totally be eating the jams with a spoon, not on toast. That’s the way I’ve eaten every honey sampler I’ve ever gotten. Plus I don’t like toast; I think it’s a ruination of good bread.

  20. Glad to see you reviewing this one! I’ve gotten the Bonne Maman calendar for the last two years and really enjoy it – though it is true that some of the flavors are a lot more interesting than others. I’ve been using mine on Carr’s water crackers – one tiny jar will anoint four of the crackers nicely, and the crackers are bland enough not to interfere with the flavors.

    My other favorite food-themed advent calendar is the marshmallow one from XO, with a lovely variety of flavors.

    In the non-food category, the e-card version from Jacquie Lawson is an annual favorite: an entire village scene that one can explore, with animations and hidden items, games to play and new things unlocking with each day.

    And then there are the traditional paper ones. We used to get the German-made ones when I was a kid – snowy village scenes and lots of glitter. These days I choose different artwork; Angela Harding has some very handsome animals/birds/landscapes in a woodcut style.

  21. Just to add: for me, a disappointing Advent calendar is one that doesn’t have interesting photos behind the flaps – sometimes the exterior artwork is awesome but the images (and/or quotes) are lacking. I also prefer my paper calendars to have the flaps scattered around in random order, so part of the fun is in finding today’s flap in the first place.

    Favorite Bonne Maman flavors for me included the mixed plum and linden one you sampled, and the pear and cocoa-nib (coming up for you soon!).

    Oh, and I adore the teensy jars. I’ve used them to package tasting-size portions of experimental gifts of jams, fruit curds, even pate.

  22. Bonne Maman jams and preserves taste so good because they are made with sugar (regular and brown) instead of corn syrup they way most others are made.

    I find the large bottle standards — blueberry, cherry, strawberry, blackberry — taste best to me. Raspberry has too many seeds.

  23. I’ve never had an advent calendar! They look fun. This is my first year exploring fountain pens, so I’m glad to hear that harmonybat and their spouse enjoy the Diamine Inkvent calendar. I thought it looked very tempting!

    The other one that tempted me this year was a dice advent calendar. Some year I’d like to treat myself! Thanks for the reviews and the inspiration!

  24. My spouse likes advent calendars, but just the kind with pictures in them. Bonne Maman is one of our go-to brands for jam and marmalade, but we’ve never tried any of those flavors…

  25. I’m very much in favor of this evolving into a March madness-style showdown, with brackets, a final four and an ultimate selection of your/the household’s favorite!

  26. It’s a popular one, it even has its own hashtag, #jamvent.

    The confusion comes when European and US folk post, as the jams are different and in a different order! This year we also got a candle holder…

  27. I usually buy Advent calendars. I think the ones with the cheap chocolate may be the best bet (although I would like to try a cheese one some time).

    I got a tea one a few years ago and that was a big disappointment. I’m not a big fan of green tea, and there were a lot of greens. There was a lot of repetition as well – too many of the same teas I didn’t care for in multiple days.

    I just did a See’s Candy one. (See’s Candy is very popular in California and especially in my family.) This was a disappointment, too. I like soft centers best and it really didn’t have any. It had 4 or 5 days with their lollipops in them. I found their lollipops too large for my mouth. They’re box-shaped rather than spherical so there are uncomfortable edges. I smashed one with a hammer, trying to break it into smaller pieces. I gave the others to my husband.

  28. The idea of adventure calendars is intriguing, although I don’t celebrate Christmas and the Christmas themed packaging is not a plus for me. However, I think I would like pretty much all of the jams. I am not really supposed to eat grapefruit, alas, and I am allergic to bananas, so there might be one or two little jams that I would need to give away. Otherwise I don’t think much could go wrong with sample sizes of lots of interesting Bonne Maman flavors. I think I would open one per week instead of having to deal with 24 open jars of jam at once.

  29. I come from the past, where an advent calendar was paper and only paper. Fortunately, I can still get that kind from places like art museums and German sellers on eBay.

    My permanent collection holds only the ones where the die-cut windows align with elements in the picture (like a door or a moon or a streetlight or a gift package). This is the one thing I collect where the entire collection takes up very little space!

  30. Bonne Maman peach jam is my all-time favourite. Though it’s incredibly hard to find in North America. It’s amazing on fresh baguette with butter!

  31. I always want to keep all the little jars I come across…for which I have absolutely no use, since I already have tupperware in that size.

    The couple years my sister-in-law was in Germany, she sent us the most marvelous chocolate advent calendars. They weren’t expensive, it’s just that European cheap novelty chocolate is so much higher quality than US cheap novelty chocolate.

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