Explore Squamish - February 05, 2018

4 Chocolate & Craft Beverage Duos to Delight This Valentine's Day

Photo: A-Frame Brewing

Ladies and gentleman, it’s time to think outside the box. The regular old chocolate, flowers and wine box that is. Craft something special for your love this Valentine's Day by gifting the perfect duo–a sinful sip and a decadent dessert.

We asked the makers of the Squamish Craft Tasting Trail to each suggest one signature drink that best pairs with chocolate. Next, master chocolatier Kevin Young of XOCO Westcoast Chocolate selected the perfect artisan chocolate to pair with each beverage. And by perfect, we mean down to the last note kind of perfect, think "lavender-infused-honey-dark-Haitian-chocolate-ganache" level of detail. The result is an epic list of exceptional craft pairings;

1. Howe Sound Brewing Co.

Pot Hole Filler Imperial Stout & Rasberry Truffle

Sinful Sip:
Brewery Manager and chocolate enthusiast Kevin Burley, from Howe Sound Brewing, was quick to suggest the Pot Hole Filler Imperial Stout the moment we mentioned chocolate. Nice and boozy at 9% ABV, the Pot Hole Filler has a deep malt flavour with hints of chocolate, coffee and dark fruit. While it may not actually be thick enough to fill a pothole this is a filling beer, easily shared between two lovebirds.

Decadent Dessert:
XOCO's raspberry truffle is a 75% dark chocolate ganache rolled in cacao nibs for a richer flavour and filled with a raspberry pâte de fruit centre.

Why it works:
The deepness of the beer and richness of the dark chocolate are a match made in heaven. Kevin chose a raspberry accent to contrast the sourness of the dark chocolate and beer. And since raspberry and chocolates are both known aphorodisiac's this could just be the ultimate Valentine's Day pairing. 

2. Gillespie's Fine Spirits

Clover Club & Madirofolo 65% Dark Chocolate

Sinful Sip:
Concocted by Kelly Woods, the Boozewitch herself, this deliciously pink and frothy cocktail has arrived just in time for Valentine's Day. Made with Gillespie's Signature Raspberry Gin you can enjoy a Clover Club in Gillespie's Speakeasy Lounge or stay in and whip it up at home. 

Directions: In a shaker combine the following: 2 oz raspberry gin, an egg white, juice of half a lemon, 1/2 ounce of simple syrup. Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker dry until the egg white is frothy. Add ice and shake again until your hand becomes a touch too cold. Strain into a chilled coupe.

Decadent Dessert:
Kevin's personal favourite dark chocolate bar. The Madirofolo plantation in Madagascar is surrounded by tamarind trees which give the beans their unique fruity flavour. Very sour with a high cocoa content, this dark, couverture chocolate reveals a bitterness and fruity, citrus notes.

Why it works:
The sour, sweet and light flavours of the Clover Club contrast the dark, rich and deep flavours in the chocolate while the sourness of the tamarind and raspberry unify the pairing. 

3. A-Frame Brewing Co.

Bear Lake Honey Brown Ale & Honey Lavender Chocolate

Sinful Sip:
When we approached A-Frame to request a beer they already had an entire flight of pairings prepared for their upcoming Beer and Chocolate Pairing Valentine's Day event. After speaking to Jeremy from A-Frame we chose the cream of the crop and decided on the Bear Lake Honey Brown Ale. A light and dry brown ale with notes of bread crust, toasted malts and graham crackers–yum! Caramelized honey was added to the boil and during fermentation to create a dry finish with subtle honey aromatics.

Decadent Dessert:

Hailing from a now hurricane struck plantation, this Haitian Honey Lavender Chocolate is both as rare as it is delicious. The cocoa plants were grown around mango trees giving the chocolate a creaminess not usually found in dark chocolate. The ganache centre with lavender-infused honey on top will fill your mouth with a buttery creaminess second to none.

Why it works:
This decadent duo is destined to be a hit for any brew and chocolate lover. The honey aromatics will tease your taste buds creating a flavour foreplay that can only be followed by a bite of XOCO's Honey Lavender Chocolate. While the honey and lavender flavours carry through to your next sip of beer, the dark chocolate ganache will contrast with the beer's crisp lightness creating a dangerously evocative mix of flavours.

4. Backcountry Brewing

Stop Short Imperial Stout & the Madonna Valentine's Day Heart

Sinful Sip:
As described by Backcountry's head brewer John Folinsbee, the Stop Short Imperial Stout is an adjunct imperial stout conditioned on coffee, coconut, cardamom and cinnamon. Big chocolate notes are followed by subtle coffee, rich coconut and a hint of chai spice. At 9% ABV, this beer is immensely drinkable. 

Decadent Dessert:
A special Valentine's treat, the Madonna Valentine's Heart will be available for a limited time only, making it extra worthy of a special XOCO visit to load up. A Kevin Young creation, the heart is an orange, chilli-infused caramel with a 70% dark chocolate shell. The hand-painted design may cause your heart to skip a beat.

Why it works:
Since there are big chocolate notes already in the beer Kevin chose a lighter chocolate to complement the brew. The hints of orange pair exceptionally well with the coffee flavour, and the chilli has a resounding, palate-clinging taste that pops playing off the lightness of the coconut and cardamom. 

Related News, Blogs, Events & Experiences

A-Frame Brewing

Backcountry Brewing

Gillespie's Fine Spirits & Distillery

Howe Sound Brew Pub & Firebread Restaurant