When Kate McAleer opened Bixby Chocolate in an old ice warehouse in Rockland, in 2011, she was the only Maine chocolatier working from scratch, beginning with unroasted cocoa beans, and she offered just one line of candy bars. Now, Bixby offers more than 50 products, many of which — from pecan-pie truffles to chocolate-covered Amarena cherries to maple-vanilla bonbons — appear in the Advent calendars McAleer introduced last year. The icons on each perforated door — roaring fire, Bean boots, lobsterboat — were drawn by Portland graphic designer Mali Welch and lean more Maine-y and wintery than explicitly Christmas-y, because McAleer wanted to capture the seasonal spirit regardless of personal holiday traditions. “It was just such a joyful time as a child,” she says. “So expressing that joy in the form of this calendar is kind of like one of my Wilhelmina Wonka dreams come true.”
Bixby Advent calendars feature Maine-made chocolates and Maine artwork, and they are printed in Maine too. $70.