Are you ready to get a taste of Solvang? A culturally rich area with a Danish heritage, Solvang (“sunny fields” in Danish) has been a well-loved tourist destination for as long as I can remember. The town’s quaint buildings and infamous windmill transport you, not only to another time, but to a whole other country, with a rich culinary background that takes center stage at this year’s 21st annual Taste of Solvang, running from March 13–17.
Jam-packed with demos, tastings and other fun events, Taste of Solvang features delicious wines and diverse cuisine, with ingredients grown locally in the Santa Ynez Valley. Be prepared to explore with your senses as you stroll through the Solvang Village Farmer’s Market (First Street between Mission and Copenhagen Drive) on Wednesday, March 13. The week’s festivities will kick off with a Chef Walk & Demos series. Not only will you get valuable tips from these wonderful chefs, but they will also give a personalized tour through Solvang’s Farmer’s Market. This year’s series will feature the following culinary talents:
- 2:30 p.m. – Chef David Cecchini from Cecco Ristorante specializes in Italian cuisine, taking his years of experience and fresh ingredients and combining them to create a beautiful harmony of dishes that absolutely sing.
- 3 p.m. – Master Chef Norbert Schulz hails from the quaint Mirabelle Restaurant. Receiving his Master’s degree in Europe, he has had extensive culinary training both in Europe and in California. This passionate chef only uses the best, freshest ingredients to cook his creative masterpieces.
- 4 p.m. – Chef Heather Rae Hovey from Hadsten House Restaurant only pairs her dishes with local Santa Barbara Wine Country wines. This talented chef has a delicious menu of meat, pasta, seafood and more – not to mention a killer filet!
As a perfect pair to the Farmer’s Market tour, Taste of Solvang Luxury Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tours will stop at four wineries to get your taste buds tingling. Included in the tour is a gourmet picnic lunch and a special souvenir wine glass.
Also featured in Taste of Solvang are the traditional and highly popular “Taste of Solvang Passport” events. You might want to write these down on your calendar!
- Friday, March 15, 7 to 9 p.m. – There will be a delectable Dessert Reception and live jazz music at Veterans Memorial Hall, located at 1745 Mission Drive.
- Saturday, March 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Get a little taste of everything in the Walking Smörgåsbord, where 40 taste stops all around Solvang will feature scrumptious bites from Danish, American, Latin, Japanese and Italian cuisines.
- Saturday, March 16, 5 to 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 17, noon to 4 p.m. – You’ll have two chances to take advantage of the Solvang Wine & Beer Walk. A dozen downtown tasting rooms take part in this tasting, pouring the drinks into the souvenir Taste of Solvang etched glass.
Taking place during the Dessert Reception is the first-ever Dessert Contest, sponsored by the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau. Sweet-makers and treat connoisseurs will compete for awards in three categories: Best Dessert – Amateur, Best Dessert – Professional and Best Dessert – People’s Choice. Winners will each receive a custom Taste of Solvang ribbon, an apron, a review in Edible Santa Barbara magazine and media publicity. Judges for the event include chef Pascale Beal, president of Pascale’s Kitchen; Laura Wright, Emmy award-winning actress and co-owner of Standing Sun Wines and George Yatchisin, food writer at the Santa Barbara Independent.
So many events, so little time. During this event, and throughout the year, visitors are encouraged to take a break and BYOP— Bring Your Own Picnic. There are several parks just waiting for you to come, eat and relax, such as Solvang Park (corner of Mission Drive and First Street), Hans Christian Andersen Park (633 Chalk Hill Road) or Sunny Fields Park (900 Alamo Pintado Road).
Whether you want to participate in one of the amazing tastings, browse the Farmer’s Market, take a walk with the family or just stop for one of your favorite aebleskivers, Taste of Solvang has a little something for everyone.
To RVSP to any of the events, click here. Let the festivities (and the eating) begin!