Snook and Rosenson, Taste of Solvang

Chef Steven Snook and owner and sommelier Jonathan Rosenson of First & Oak consult on a menu for the 2017 edition of Taste of Solvang. Snook will again lead the Solvang Farmers Market Walk on Wednesday for this year’s event.

Residents and visitors alike can get a “Taste of Solvang” when the food-focused festival returns this week for the 26th year.

Longtime favorites will return with two new ones added to this year’s events that will kick off Wednesday and continue Friday, Saturday and Sunday, presented by the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau with sponsorship support this year from Visit Santa Ynez Valley and the city of Solvang.

The new events this year are the Wednesday Farmers Market Family-Friendly Dinner and the Danish Sunday Brunch.

Because of the popularity of the many events, organizers are advising those who plan to attend to purchase weekend passports or ala carte event tickets in advance at www.solvangusa.com/taste-of-solvang. Advance tickets are required for three events.

The signature Taste of Solvang Weekend Passport includes tickets to Sip + Savor Opening Night with VIP access, Saturday’s Tasting Trail and the two-day Saturday and Sunday Wine & Beer Walk plus a souvenir wine glass, a collectible item, a map and a tote bag for $110 per person.

Prices vary for the ala carte individual event tickets.

Events will launch Wednesday with two wine-and-dine options.

The First & Oak Chef Walk, Wine Tour and Dinner at 3 p.m. will start with a conversational walk among Solvang Farmers Market vendors with First & Oak chef Steven Snook, who worked in London with celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay.

Ticket and passport holders will then accompany sommelier Jonathan Rosenson on a walking vineyard tour of his nearby Coquelicot Estate to learn about grape growing, gain insights into winemaking and sample wines.

Participants will return to First & Oak for Snook’s gourmet four-course tasting menu. The cost is $65 for dinner only or $85 for dinner with paired wines. Space is limited, and reservations are required through the website.

The new Solvang Farmers Market Dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. is a family-friendly, farm-to-table feast featuring fresh-from-the-market ingredients prepared by chef David Cecchini of Cecco Ristorante and Mathew Raab of Fresco Valley Café.

Participants will dine al fresco on seasonal stew and small bites at communal tables in Solvang Park to the music of the Bryan Titus Trio. Diners should bring their own beer and wine if they so desire.

The cost is $15 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12, with net proceeds to benefit Santa Ynez Valley Veggie Rescue. Space is limited, and reservations are required through the website.

After a break Thursday, events will resume Friday and continue through Sunday. Here’s a look at the schedule:

Friday

• 7 to 9 p.m. — Sip + Savor Opening Night at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall; 25 Santa Ynez Valley chefs, bakers, caterers, winemakers and brewers with live music by the Sean Wiggins Band. Weekend Passport holders get early VIP entry at 6:30 p.m. Ala carte tickets at $45 are available in advance online or at the door

Saturday

• 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Tasting Trail features more than 30 taste stops at restaurants and retailers around the village; Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Elverhoj Museum of History & Art and The Wildling Museum will offer Tasting Trail ticketholders free admission all day. Tickets at $30 include detailed map and menu; reservations recommended in advance online or on the day of the event, if available, at Taste of Solvang registration tent, 1639 Copenhagen Drive.

• 2 to 7 p.m. — Wine & Beer Walk, Day 1 offers more than 15 stops at downtown tasting rooms to sample wine and craft beer; must be age 21 or older. Reservations recommended; tickets at $45 include souvenir glass, are valid both Saturday and Sunday and are available online or, if available, on the day of the event at Taste of Solvang registration tent.

Sunday

• 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Danish Sunday Brunch with Bottomless Mimosa, Bloody Mary Bar or Bottomless Coffee; menu created by executive chef Brooke Stockwell at K’Syrah Catering Events Center includes pork belly bites with real maple syrup, mini yogurt parfaits with sweet balsamic reduction, Aeeggkage Danish-style mini-egg frittatas with caramelized onions and gruyere and much, much more; $65 with alcohol for those 21 and older or $50 with coffee, tea and soda bar. Space is limited, and advance reservations are required online.

• Noon to 4 p.m. — Wine & Beer Walk, Day 2, with 16 stops at downtown tasting rooms to sample wine and craft beer in souvenir glass; must be 21 or older. Reservations recommended; tickets at $45 include souvenir glass, are valid both Saturday and Sunday and are available online or, if available, on the day of the event at Taste of Solvang registration tent.

This report was compiled by News Editor Mike Hodgson. He can be reached at mhodgson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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