Another Delicious Danish Taste Celebration in Solvang
By Bonnie Carroll
The 26th annual Solvang walking and tasting extravaganza offered delicious delights and savory flavors to passport holders who were also celebrating St. Pat's Day. The March 17th stroll through the historic destination was festive and fun, and the business owners and employees were helpful and kind. The annual event ran from Friday, March16 through Sunday March 18, with a collection of sips and tasty bites along the route through downtown Solvang. The Sunday Brunch created by Chef Brooke Stockwell looked to be an outstanding way to spend a Sunday.
My tasting adventure began on St. Pat's Day at 11:00 a.m. and ran until 4:00 p.m. 26th Annual Taste of Solvang Tasting Trail featured more than 30 taste stops at restaurants and retailers around the village featuring delicious bites at restaurants, retailers and more. A ride on the Solvang Trolley gave visitors a birds eye view of the renowned Solvang Theatre, Actors Cafe, and Hans Christian Anderson Park, along with additional historic sites of local importance in the community. Everyone loved the horse drawn trolley!
Included in the afternoon sojourn was a Wine & Beer Walk offering 16 stops at downtown tasting rooms pouring their wines and samples of craft beer into Taste of Solvang souvenir glass holders. I met a couple from San Diego who drive up for the Taste of Solvang each year, as well as a sweet young couple who live in Solvang and said they come every year to support their community. The Wine & Beer Walk ticket was valid for both Saturday and Sunday. Stops for sips included Cali Love, Casa Cassara, Copenhagen Sausage Garden, CrossHatch, Lion's Peak, Lucas & Lewellen, Lucky Dog, Royal Oaks, Roxo Port Cellars, Sevtap, Solvang Brewing Company, The Olive House, Toccata, Valley Brewers/The Back Room and Wandering Dog Wine Bar.
Among the collection of business' offering tastes for 2018 was Ingeborg's World Famous Danish Chocolate venue, where I spent time talking with Kim Jenson, chocolatier and owner of the charming chocolate and ice cream shop. Kim invited to see his chocolate kitchen, and the samples they were giving to Taste of Solvang visitors were outstanding.
The Red Viking has been a favorite of mine for many years. Their restaurant has a smorgasbord table featuring authentic and delicious smorgasbord table offering a bevy of tastes that are renowned and their staff cater to serving handicap people. The Olsen's Danish Bakery people are behind this authentic and delicious taste of Denmark restaurant, and they were offering tastes of their outstanding meatballs to people on the tasting tour. The award winning Olsen Bakery were also offering samples of their award winning pastry in their inviting bakery on Mission Street. Many years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Olsen and assisted with a special pastry he was making for the Taste of Solvang. The walls of this venerable patisserie are filled with awards and honors he has won.
The entire list of blissful bites included the Landsby Hotel, where Josiah Avery was offering warm pita with Romesco Sauce and marinated Castlevetrano olives, Olive Press, Viking Garden Restaurant, Solvang Bakery, PHO 805, Danish Mill Bakery, Cafe Dolce, Petros Kave, Fresco Valey Cafe, Copenhagen Sausage Garden, Solvang Restaurant, Old Danish Fudge Kitchen, Tower Pizza, Ableskiver Cafe, Birkholm's Bakery & Cafe, Red Viking, Solvang Coffee Company, Chomp, Solvang Inn & Cottages, Olsen's Danish Bakery. Solvang Brewing Company, The Little Mermaid Restaurant, Mortensen's Bakery, Swedish Candy Factory, and more. I loved meeting Chef Harold at Humming Bird Caribbean Cafe, the jerk chicken was a unique change, and the bruchetta at Fresco Valley Cafe was quite tasty as well.
This year passport holders also were provided free admission to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Elverhoj Museum of History and Art and The Wilding Museum. Biking is big in this community and the Hans Christian Andersen Park was the place to be for this crowd. For children this is a magical destination that is not only filled with sweet shops, but has some wonderful toy shops and play areas kids love.
The Taste of Solvang is presented each year by the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau since 1993 with sponsorship support this year from Visit Santa Ynez Valley and City of Solvang. For more information about lodging, dining and attractions year-round in Solvang visit www.SolvangUSA.com