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SiliconBeachClearly: Taste of Solvang

Consider taking a two-hour trek up north to the once sleepy town of Solvang. There was a time when it was best known for it’s kitschy Danish decor and Ye Olde-style shoppes and smorgasbords, but a little movie called Sideways brought to light The Santa Ynez Valley’s status as a burgeoning wine region.

Now in its 22nd year, the annual Taste of Solvang kicks off March 12 with a Chef Walk, traversing the Solvang Farmer’s Market with David Cecchini (Cecco Ristorante), in which he will explain his process for choosing fresh produce. That event is free and open to all; an RSVP is encouraged (info@createpromotions.com). Meet at the corner of First Street and Copenhagen Drive at 3 p.m.

Next up is Sweets & Swing March 14 from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Hall. Formerly known as the Dessert Reception, expect a lot of chocolate (there are many based in Solvang). It’s probably also a safe bet to assume that aebleskivers (Danish dessert pastries) will be aplenty while you dance to the live jazz sounds of the Tipsy Gypsies. Entry is $25 per person.

1745 Mission Dr.
Solvang, CA 93463

The following day, March 15 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Solvang Park will feature many topnotch chefs at the Grand Tasting. Tickets are $35 per person.

Also held in the same location, the Beer & Wine Walk will take place twice, on both March 15 in the evening from 5 p.m.-8 p.m., and again in the afternoon of March 16 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Here guests will have the chance to taste many local wines and beers. A two-day pass costs $40 and includes a souvenir glass.

We consider the premier event to be the Farm-to-Fork wine pairing dinner with Chef Budi Kazali. Chef Kazali is not only one of the best chefs in the Central Coast region, but also the owner of the lovely Ballard Inn, which is home to his restaurant. This event, however, will be held in the Barrel Room of Buttonwood Winery (winemaker: Karen Steinwachs) — who are providing the wines for the dinner. It’s set for March 15 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. The cost is $120 per person, including a shuttle to and from Solvang Park.

1500 Alamo Pintado Rd.
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-3032

The festival is being held March 12-16 at various locations throughout the area. For more information, visit Taste of Solvang.

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