You may not know exactly what’s on their ideal gift list, but you can treat the Fathers in your life to a delicious meal complete with enticing beer pairings, ribs glazed with savoury chocolate barbecue sauce, and mouth-watering brownies for dessert. Add special finishing touches like a beautiful table setting and eye-catching napkins to make the day even more memorable.
Beer Pairings 101
Master cicerone Mirella Amato is the author of the award-winning book Beerology: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Beer…Even More, which includes a section on how to best pair beer with chocolate. Here, she offers her tips.
Lindt Excellence 78% Cacao Dark Chocolate + Russian Imperial Stout
Excellence 78% Cacao and Russian Imperial Stout make for a robust and dynamic pairing. The stout’s high alcohol content matches the intensity of the chocolate, along with its smokiness and rich, roasted flavours. The beer also has subtle sweet notes of prune and dried plum, which will complement the bar’s pecan and walnut flavours.
Bolshevik Bastard – Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
Stout Impériale – La Chouape
Breakfast Stout – Founders Brewing Co.
Lindt Excellence 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate + English Pale Ale
An English-style pale ale has malty sweetness and a bitter finish, which mirrors the well-balanced notes of 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate, without bowling over its subtleness, which a bolder, American-style ale might do. The beer’s nuttiness also pairs well with this bar’s vanilla notes, while its overall earthiness (which comes from English hops) highlights the chocolate’s fruity undertones of orange and dry cherry.
Red Racer ESB – Central City Brewers + Distillers
Best Bitter – Picaroons Traditional Ales
Lindt Excellence Orange Intense Dark Chocolate + Belgian Tripel
The higher level of sweetness in Excellence Orange Intense naturally complements the sweeter character of a Belgian Tripel-style beer. The bar’s citrus notes and cacao enhance both the banana and orange flavours in the beer, resulting in a tasty, tropical finish. Any bitterness present in both will cancel each other out, highlighting only the fruit notes, as well as the toasted almond note in the chocolate.
Tchucké – Broadway Pub
La Trappe Tripel – Koningshoeven
Chimay White Cap – Bières de Chimay
Bourbon Brownie Bites
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 2 bars (200g) Lindt Excellence 85% Cacao Dark Chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60 mL) bourbon whiskey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups (160g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan.
- In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt dark chocolate with butter, stirring with wooden spoon.
- Take pan off heat. Stir in granulated sugar, then whiskey and vanilla.
- Add the eggs to pan, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
- Add all-purpose flour and salt. Stir to combine.
- Divide brownie batter between greased muffin cups. Smooth tops with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centre of a brownie comes out clean (about 15 to 20 minutes).
- Let cool 10 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Maître Chocolatier Tip: For an even more decadent taste (and texture), add chunks of dark chocolate and/or walnuts into the brownie batter.
Chocolate BBQ Sauce
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: ¾ cup (enough for 4 to 5 pounds of ribs)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chili powder or chipotle chili powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp mustard powder
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ cup (125mL) ketchup
- ⅓ cup (80mL) honey
- ¼ cup (60mL) lime juice
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 pieces (20g) Lindt Excellence 90% Cacao Dark Chocolate, chopped
- 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.
- Stir in ketchup, honey, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to thicken sauce.
- Take pan off heat. Stir in chopped chocolate until melted. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.