Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This year, it was last Sunday. Which means my 24-day calendar needed an extra couple of markers.

I used the first two stockings, filled with mini Lindt truffles. The rest of the markers are Mouseloft cross-stitch patches, which I made some years ago. We turn them over, one each day.

At some point (initially I thought this Advent, but probably it’ll be throughout next year), I intend to make a stocking for each day, to attach the patches to, so I can have a little chocolate every day. Or perhaps I’ll just make a set for hanging on the Christmas tree, instead of having chocolate decorations. Probably that.

But anyway. The beginning of Advent. Not quite the Christmas season: Advent is its own season, with four weeks of waiting and preparing for Christmas.

And the preparations this year have already started and are being very delicious. Because it’s our first Christmas on our own, and because 2020 has been otherwise a bit rubbish, we want to make it Good. And obviously that means having the right foods. Not just the turkey (that’s already ordered), but things like the right cheeses on the cheese-board.

We’re spending Advent taste-testing all the yummy sounding festive foods, deciding what makes the cut for our festive celebrations.

Of course, I know Christmas isn’t just about the food, but since we can’t go home and see family, or even go to Midnight Mass (probably), we have to focus on the things we can do. Which means focusing on the edible aspects.

We started with a cheese-tasting, with several of Aldi’s cheese-truckles. Mostly cheddars, with one Double Gloucester, and only one of them failed to inspire us (a cheddar with onion and Rioja, if you’re interested. It had a funny, musty sort of flavour, and an off-putting sort of grey-brownish colour, I’m not sure what I’ll do with it now). My favourite was a cheddar with rosemary.