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Travel Tips of the Week: March 10, 2014

– Velkommen Til Solvang –

By Jean Strauber, Travel Editor

Solvang, California

Solvang, California

“Velkommen til Solvang!”  Welcome to Solvang (Danish for ‘sunny field’) is one of the most charming and beautiful cities in California. Located in the Santa Ynez Valley, it was founded in 1911 by a small group of Danish teachers. With its lovely shops, fine restaurants, Danish festivals, horse drawn wagons, windmills, fine Danish pastries and lots of quaint shops to explore, Solvang is a popular destination for California residents as well as a a major stop for tourist groups.
The Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau invites you to the 22nd Annual Taste of Solvang festival from Wednesday, March 12 through Sunday, March 16, 2014. Featuring locally grown foods, wines and diverse cuisine to celebrate the rich cultural and culinary heritage of the area, the producer, Create Promotions, is offering savory flavors and sensory sensations. New to the 2014 event is an intimate Farm-to-Fork Dinner experience with famed Chef Budi Kazali of the Ballard Inn. Here’s the schedule
• Wednesday, March 12, 2:00 to 6:00 pm: The Solvang Village Farmers Market with farm-to-you fresh fruit, veggies, flowers, meats, cheeses, breads and savories from around the Central Coast (First Street between Mission & Copenhagen Drive). At 3:00 p.m. will be the Solvang Village Farmers Market Chef Walk & Demo. Meet at the corner of First Street and Copenhagen Drive with Chef David Cecchini, owner of Cecco Ristorante for a free Walk & Talk followed by a cooking demonstration at his restaurant Cecco, 475 First Street.  Chef David will be offering up tips and a personalized tour as he purchases farm-fresh ingredients for his demonstration menu.  RSVP is required and can be made at info@createproductions.com.
• Friday, March 14, 7:00 to 9:00 pm: The popular Dessert Reception is back but with a new name, Sweets & Swing. At the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall, 1765 Mission Drive, you will find a dozen or more different confections accompanied by local wines and beverages.  You will also be treated to live jazz and vocals performed by The Tipsy Gypsies. A la carte tickets are available in advance at www.TasteofSolvang.org or via First Street tickets at (805) 693-8064 or at the door, $25 per person.
• Saturday, March 15, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm:  Formerly known as the Walking Smorgaasbord, The Grand Tasting will feature 40 taste shops around the village featuring delicious bites of Danish, American and other cuisines. Ticket purchase includes a detailed map and menu.  A la carte tickets are available in advance at www.TasteofSolvang.org or via First Street Tickets at (805) 693-8084; or purchase the day of the event if still available at Taste of Solvang ticket booth in Solvang Park (Mission Drive & First Street) for $30 per person.
From 5:00 to 8:00 pm will be the Wine & Beer Tasting Walk, a two-day event offering 12 stops at downtown tasting rooms pouring their vintages into the prized souvenir Taste of Solvang etched glass.  The cost is $40 per person, must be 21 years or older. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.TasteofSolvang.or or via First Street Tickets at (805) 693-8084 or for purchase the day of the event if still available at Taste of Solvang ticket booths in Solvang Park.
From 6:00 to 9:00 pm, enjoy a Farm-to-Fork Dinner experience with famed Chef Budi Kazali of The Ballard Inn, which will be held at Solvang’s Buttonwood Farms and Winery barrel room.  Award-winning Chef Budi Kazali will take you through a four course wine-paired dinner utilizing ingredients sourced only from Solvang’s local producers. Chef Budi is the owner of the AAA Four-Diamond rated Ballard Inn and Restaurant and is host of The Inn Crowd TV show.  A la carte tickets are available ONLY in advance at www.TasteofSolvang.org or via First Street Tickets at (805) 693-8084 for $120 per person (must be 21 years or older) and include round-trip transportation to/from Solvang Park/Butterwood Farm.
• Sunday, March 16, 12:00 to 4:00 pm:  Day Two of the Wine & Beer Tasting Walk offers 12 stops at downtown tasting rooms pouring their vintages into the prized souvenir Taste of Solvang etched glass. If you purchased a ticket for Saturday’s Wine & Beer Tasting Walk, it is still valid on Sunday’s walk.
In addition to the a la carte purchases of tickets, a package is available for purchase.  Passport Weekend includes Sweets & Swing, Grand Tasting, Solvang Wine & Beer Tasting Walk for $85 or the VIP Passport which includes the Passport Weekend plus the Farm to Fork Dinner for $185 per person.  Both packages include the souvenir wine glass, a wine charm and a souvenir tote.  Tickets may be purchased at www.tasteofsolvang.org or by calling First Street Tickets at (805) 693-8084.
For more information about the 2014 Taste of Solvang, please go to info@createpromotions.com or www.tasteofsolvang.org. For information about lodgings and the many attractions that Solvang has to offer, go to www.SolvangUSA.com.

Jean Strauber

Entertainment Writer

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