The three-course meal, which was Belgian-inspired by Executive Chef of Belga Café and Belgium-native Bart Vandaele, was paired with both the Leffe Blonde and Leffe Brune. The pairing of the two beers with each course really brought out the hint of vanilla in the Blonde, and chocolate and coffee in the Brune beers.
The event started with a Canape hour, where guests were served their choice of Leffe Blonde or Brune, salami Chips with onion dip, foie gras poppy seed balls, grilled baby back ribs with avocado cream, and jalapeño BBQ sauce. While enjoying the foie gras poppy seed balls and my glass of Leffe Blonde, I didn't think to notice how well they brought out the vanilla sweetness of the beer. However, once we sat down for dinner and Chef Vandaele shared his inspiration for the crafted dinner, I took his guidance and sipped the beer, then took a bite of the dish to see what different flavors became apparent.
The first course was Lobster a la Vanilla, paired with Leffe Blonde.
The second course was Duck a la Thanksgiving, with glazed carrots, sweet potato puree, braised salsify and Leffe Brune cranberry sauced, paired with Leffe Brune.
The third course, and the one that's had me craving chocolate and Leffe Brune since dinner, was Belgian Bitter Chocolate Flan with caramelized orange and vanilla crumble, paired with Leffe Brune. The pairing of this dessert and the Leffe Brune was divine.
Leffe was founded in the 13th century and is still brewed by the same recipe. After being introduced to Leffe, I am adding Brussels to my travel wish list. They've started and kept a good thing going with Leffe Brune and Blonde.
Stop by Belga Cafe to try these amazing pairings and be sure to tell them we sent you.
- Christie Cooper