Make and assemble the chocolate cake the day before; it will keep, covered, at room temperature until you’re ready to serve it. Or, if you like, you can bake the cake itself a couple weeks ahead of time—once it’s cooled completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Pull the cake out to thaw the day before you want to serve it, and ice it once it has come to room temperature.
You can make the rillettes ahead as well; they’ll last up to two weeks in the fridge.
The salad makes use of vegetables that freeze well, like peas and lima beans, for a fresh-tasting side dish that’s easy to make even in winter when not much is in season. For more ideas to add some green to your cold-weather dinners, see our collection of recipes with frozen peas »
If you have different types of glassware on hand, it’s nice to serve each beer in its preferred glass. A pint glass, tulip, or oversized wine glass is great for the saison; a goblet for the dubbel; and a snifter is perfect for capturing the intense flavors of the stout.