In 1911, Danish immigrants made their way West, and established a little town in sunny Santa Barbara county that would come to be known as Solvang. Over 100 years later, Solvang is hosting its 25th annual Taste of Solvang celebration to promote and preserve the town’s Danish heritage. While Solvang is small, it is rich with Danish culture, and from March 15 through March 19, tourists and locals alike are invited to celebrate the Solvang way—and yes, that means with a lot of food and alcohol!
This five day celebration showcases the talents of Solvang’s best chefs, bakers, farmers, winemakers, brewers, distillers and artisans. The festival kicks off at 3 p.m. on March 15 with the Solvang Farmers Market Chef Walks & Dining Experiences. Guests have the option to enjoy a conversational walk with either Food Network TV personality Chef Pink of Bacon & Brine or Chef Steven Snook of First & Oak, accompanied by Sommelier Jonathan Rosenson. On Chef Pink’s walking tour, attendees will engage in discussion about her passion for pork and fermented foods and the realities of opening and running a restaurant dedicated to hyper-local sourcing. With Chef Steven Snook, who trained under Chef Gordon Ramsay, guests will enjoy conversation about produce and culinary techniques, then will accompany Sommelier Jonathan Rosenson on a tour of a nearby vineyard. At the end of the evening, both Chefs will dazzle their guests by preparing and serving gourmet meals.
On March 16, festival attendees will sip their way through Solvang at the Learn To Blind Taste Like a Sommelier event hosted at Wandering Dog Wine at 6 p.m. Guests will challenge their palates with four half-glasses of red wines in an effort to match up varietals, regions, alcohol percentage, vintage and price points. You’ll learn the lingo and be sipping like a pro by the end of the evening.
The Sip + Savor Opening Night event, taking place from 7-9 p.m. on March 17, features 25 chefs, bakers, caterers, winemakers and brewers from the Santa Ynez Valley. Along with the long lineup of culinary geniuses who will be in attendance, guests will be grooving out to the music of the Sean Wiggins Band.
In the age of the internet, it’s common to research restaurants before ever actually stepping foot in the establishment in the hopes of settling on the best of the best. At hand of the Taste of Solvang Tasting Trail, on March 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can spend less time reading restaurant reviews and more time actually enjoying culinary creations. Featuring more than 32 taste stops at restaurants and retailers around the village, the Tasting Trail allows you to decide for yourself which restaurants deserve 5-stars. A few of the destinations attendees will visit include Copenhagen Sausage Garden, Danish Mill Bakery, Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates, Mortensen’s Bakery, Solvang Coffee Company and more. As a bonus, all Tasting Trail ticket holders will have all day free access to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Elverhoj Museum of History & Art and The Wildling Museum. Later on Saturday, at 6 p.m., winemaker Karen Steinwachs of Buttonwood Farm Winery and Chef David Cecchini join forces to craft a locally-inspired, Italian influenced five-course gourmet dinner paired with Buttonwood estate-grown wines.
Saturday and Sunday festival goers can let loose with a day of drinking at the Taste of Solvang Wine & Beer Walk featuring 17 downtown tasting rooms. From 2-7 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, participating venues, including Casa Cassara, Dascomb Cellars and Lost Point Winery, will be pouring their guests samples of craft beer and vintages into the prized souvenir Taste of Solvang glasses.
Because everyone knows Sunday morning isn’t really Sunday morning without brunch, there are two different Taste of Solvang brunch options. At 11 a.m., guests can choose between attending either the Sunday Brew Brunch at The Backroom at Valley Brewers, where delicious foods will be paired with beer flights, cold brew latte on nitro and more. If mimosas are more your style in the morning, opt for option two, Sunday Brunch at Mad & Vin, where guests will delight in a three-course gourmet, locally sourced meal.
With single event passes ranging from $35 to $90, the Taste of Solvang Passport might be the bargain your wallet is begging for! The Passport includes tickets to Sip + Savor Opening Night with VIP Access, Saturday’s Tasting Trail and Wine & Beer Walk, plus some extra Taste of Solvang souvenirs to take home, all for only $110 per person. Here’s to doing it as the Danish do and doing it on a budget. Eat, drink and be merry!
For more information visit www.solvangusa.com/taste-of-solvang-2017.