When the summer feels like it’s just flying by, why not bring together your loved ones for a night to remember? Plan the perfect summer evening with BBQ ribs in a decadent sauce, Margaritas and ice cream sundaes, all surrounded by festive DIY decor. For an even more refreshing twist, add these killer rosé and beer pairings.

Chocolate Fudge Sauce (for Ice Cream)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup (250 mL)

Mastering this delicious and homemade hot fudge sauce is an extra special treat that’ll win over any crowd.

This sauce is so easy to make yet tastes like it came straight from your favourite parlour. The recipe uses dark chocolate for a rich, glossy effect that’ll dress up any summer ice cream scoop.

Ingredients

Lindt Excellence 70% Cacao

  • 1 bar (100 g) Lindt Excellence 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • ⅓ cup (80 mL) corn or maple syrup
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) icing sugar, sifted
  • ⅓ cup (80 mL) 35% whipping cream
  • ½ tsp (3 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Steps

  1. Place chocolate in a heat-resistant bowl and melt in a bain-marie.
  2. Add corn or maple syrup, icing sugar, cream, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk to form a homogeneous sauce.
  3. Serve with ice cream. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of rum, brandy or Grand Marnier in step 2 for a twist on flavour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Maître Chocolatier Tip: To maintain a smooth texture in the sauce, reheat and stir before using.


Lindt Excellence Chili Dark Chocolate with a Classic Margarita

Look no further than a crowd-pleasing margarita to indulge at a lively summer party. The well-balanced spice of the chocolate brings out the tangy notes of the lime, while the salt opens the taste buds to enhance every flavour. The refreshing nature of the cocktail also quenches the slight heat punctuated by the chocolate and finishes with an exciting tingle.

Ingredients

Lindt Excellence Chili Lindt Excellence Sea Salt

  • 1 ½ oz tequila
  • ½ oz orange liqueur
  • 1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • Sea salt or coarse salt for the rim

Make it

In a shaker, add all ingredients and shake. Strain into martini or cosmo glass rimmed with
salt and garnish with lime.

Also works with: Lindt Excellence Sea Salt Dark Chocolate

Check out more summer cocktail recipes and chocolate pairings.


BBQ Ribs with Chocolate BBQ Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes (+ 3 hours chilling time for ribs)
Cook time: 10 minutes (+ 2.5 hours for ribs)
Servings: ¾ cup, enough for 4 to 5 pounds of ribs

Ingredients

Lindt Excellence 90% Cacao

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) chili powder or chipotle chili powder
  • ½ tsp (3 mL) smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) cayenne
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) mustard powder
  • ½ tsp (3 ml) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (125 mL) ketchup
  • ⅓ cup (80 mL) honey
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) lime juice
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 squares (20g) Lindt Excellence 90% Cacao Dark Chocolate, chopped

Steps

Sauce

  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft (about 5 minutes), stirring often. Add all the dry spices, black pepper, salt and garlic. Cook for another minute or two until spices are fragrant.
  2. Stir in ketchup, honey, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to thicken sauce.
  4. Take pan off heat. Stir in chopped chocolate until melted. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Ribs

  1. To cook baby-back ribs, start by coating them with a dry rub seasoning (store-bought, or make your own with equal parts salt, pepper, paprika and brown sugar). Refrigerate them, covered, for 3 hours.
  2. Roast ribs in a 300ºF (150ºC) oven covered with foil or on indirect heat on a BBQ with the lid closed for 2.5 hours.
  3. Finish ribs by brushing them with the chocolate BBQ sauce and broiling them in the oven or over direct heat on the BBQ to give them colour and a little char.

Maître Chocolatier Tip: When stirring the chocolate into the BBQ sauce, use a whisk to help the cacao particles disperse evenly throughout the mixture.


Backyard Party Tips from a Pro

Madeleine Kojakian is the mastermind behind Maddy K Events Atelier. She’s responsible for some of Montreal’s most memorable and luxurious events, including Bridal Boudoir, as well as many corporate and private retreats and fundraisers.

1. Mason jars

Yes, they’re still in. Mason jars were made for outdoor events – use them for drinks or cutlery, or for holding food like veggies and dip, salads and even BBQ sauce for ribs. If you’re working with a particular colour or style theme, cover mason jars in matching wrapping paper or spray paint.

2. Brown bags

Serve snacks in paper lunch bags. Cut off the tops of the bags and fill them with chips or popcorn – this will avoid any mess and make them easy to grab and go. The best part: When guests are done, the bags go straight into the recycling bin.

3. Colourful straws

Source biodegradable straws in different colours, or dress them up in colourful Japanese washi tape by wrapping pieces around each straw to create a pattern. You can even make a flag: Wrap a 1.5-inch strip around the upper portion of the straw, securing the ends to each other (about an inch), then snip a triangle out of the centre with scissors. It’s an easy way for guests to identify their drinks, and the coverings can be tied in with your overarching party theme.

4. DIY table runner

Thick and luxurious wrapping paper (or wallpaper) can add the perfect pop of colour to an outdoor dining or coffee table. Just spread a strip of paper down the centre of the table like a runner – it’s easy and no-fuss to set up, plus you won’t worry about it getting stained.

5. Mood lighting

If hosting an evening BBQ party, incorporate many different sources of soft light. It can transform an outdoor space and instantly fill an alfresco party with atmosphere and whimsy. Use candles, hurricane lanterns and even fairy lights placed strategically around the bar, near entrances and in the powder room. Soft lighting is universally flattering and prevents guests from tripping over any uneven ground.

6. Self-serve stations

Invest in glass beverage dispensers for a self-serve drink station – it will save a lot of time throughout the day. Fill the dispensers with cocktails, mocktails or even flavoured water – think of refreshing combinations like cucumber and mint or watermelon and basil. Some dispensers come with a blackboard for writing out the flavour, or you can buy small boards and create your own signage. Just don’t forget to place colour-coordinated disposable cups nearby.