31 Comments

We used to visit Solvang often-but mostly the wine country. There was a winery there that had a cupcake pop-up in it and you could get a flight of mini-cupcakes that were paired with the wine tasting. It was the best!

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I actually visited that winery and loved it. I believe it’s still there and worth another visit—and probably a post of its own. Thanks for reminding me and for commenting, Laura!

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Ruth Stroud

Another wonderful article Ruth! I enjoyed reading it so much. What a fascinating place and those pancakes look wonderful.

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Thanks, Marg! It was quite a delicious experience in every way. I’m glad you enjoyed reading about it.😊

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Mar 5, 2023Liked by Ruth Stroud

Makes me want to go back! Another great article, Ruth!

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Thanks so much, Susan!

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Love "travelling" with you Ruth! All those Danish treats look absolutely inviting but the cross section of the bear claw... Omg...!

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Thanks, Sinù! I’m glad for your company, even if only vicariously! That bear claw was quite wonderful—and a bit humbling. I can’t imagine ever being able to duplicate it in my kitchen— which just gives me another reason to plan a return visit!😁

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Anyone else remember the remote control boats that used to be there?

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Ruth, I love Solvang and especially all the food, more than one can eat in a day. I lived in California off and on for the better part of 50 years and I've been to Solvang many times; it never gets old.

Years ago when I was doing the street fair circuit making Kettle Popkorn with my then husband, one of our vendor friends was Arnie, the original guy that had the place in Solvang. I believe he had already sold it by the time I met him, but I loved showing up at his booth at the end of a long market night to get my weekly treat.

Your post brings back a lot of good memories, thanks!

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Thanks for your comment, Gayla! So glad my post brought back some good memories.

What an interesting adventure it must have been to sell Kettle Popkorn on the street fair circuit. I know there are quite a number of such events in Solvang, but there weren't any going on when we were in town this time--just a small farmers market. It is definitely a fun place to visit, and I can't believe this is our first time going after living in SoCal for more than 40 years! Obviously we'll have to go back for more pastries--and for all the other sights and tastes we missed!

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We never did any events in Solvang, we mostly did street fairs and a few other events. The street fairs kept us plenty busy. It was definitely an adventure, not a good one most of the time. The best part of it was the people we met, other vendors and customers too.

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What a great post, Ruth, the pancakes and Kringle, I’m hungry now! (And it’s after midnight!) loved the movie Sideways, I need to watch Jeff’s walk, I think I saw a beautiful hotel on his Instagram! ❤️

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Thanks, Jolene! It was a lot of fun—and I didn’t even get into the joys of wine tasting with muffins! The hotel we stayed at was lovely. It’s called Hotel Corque and is steps away from Mission Inés and a lovely walk. I can’t wait to return!🤗

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Great post, Ruth. Your visit must have felt like a mini trip to Europe without leaving CA. I was completely unfamiliar with Solvang, even though I remember enjoying Sideways when it first came out. Fun tidbit of info about the number of layers of pastry!

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Thank you, Vicki! It did feel like a mini-vacation to a place somewhere between America and Europe. The landscape was distinctive Californian, but there were people speaking Danish, and stores, restaurants and bakeries that seemed so authentic it made me want to hop on the next plane to Copenhagen. The 27 layers seem to be a real baseline definition of this type of pastry, but I'll have to do more research into laminated doughs to find out why.

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Feb 27, 2023Liked by Ruth Stroud

Ruth, your posts are always so interesting. I loved reading about the history of Solvang. And... I WANT A KRINGLE

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Okay, I have to make ableskiver now, since I live in Wisconsin. First, though, I'm calling Solvang's bluff. See, I first visited it as an exchange student from England in the early 80s, and absolutely thought of it as a Danish Disneyland, as it clearly was, and as the Californians I knew spoke of it. At that time, the pastries we sampled there, in abundance, were, frankly, bloody awful and very unEuropean: I specifically recall fake cream. I rush to add that when I was last there a year ago, things were much improved: I wasn't surprised, since American food standards and expectations have risen since then. Solvang as we know it was started in 1947. Originally, after Solvang was founded in 1911, the buildings in town looked like typical buildings in Southern California, until after WWII, when cute and kitschy things (like the Madonna Inn, and Disneyland itself) attracted the multitudes of postwar car tourists. Solvang was a pioneer of kitsch: The buildings were Danishified, the bakeries blossomed, and the tourists arrived. Ruth, I am delighted you have shown that the countryside is pretty, and the Chumash connections, and all sorts of reasons to go there other than just to stuff my face! (And see? This is why I don't get invited to parties . . .)

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Thanks for your input, Annette! Obviously I should have talked to you as you lived here and know the area--and you're a historian. I imagine you're right, that there's a whole facade that Solvangers (is that a word?) added to the place in the late '40s to prettify it for tourists. I think some of the buildings are probably facades and others are for real--like the Elverhøj Museum and the Bethania Lutheran Church. And folks at visitor centers must needs cater to both audiences, their fellow townspeople and the tourist trade. But it does feel like there's a genuineness and sincerity to the people who live there. Like most people in a tourist town, they put on their best faces to greet the folks who arrive hoping to meet a real live genuine Dane, but then they also cater to those who live there and love Danish cuisine, dark European breads and aebleskiver and hope to pass on their culture to their children while preserving a thriving business. I'm sure if I'd had more space and time I might have gotten into this more, including the important Chumash connections, the mission history, the struggle to hold onto a culture from a distant land without selling out, but then I'm not a historian--I'm just a tourist visiting a town for a couple of days and writing about my impressions. But thanks much for your perspective.

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Eh, Ruth, I'm just being the usual party pooper! I go there myself. 😂 I just thought it a bit rich for someone to claim it was an "organic" community. And I may be a historian, but there's a lot I don't know, and a lot I get wrong, especially as a tourist. It's the conversation that matters. 😀

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Mar 1, 2023Liked by Ruth Stroud

You had me at Kringle! Most informative and colorful. Another wonderful place to visit when I venture south!🌸😋

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Thanks, Jean! You’d love it! When are you coming? Please let me know! ❤️

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I think I'm going to have a party and invite you guys just so you can say you DO get invited to parties, Annette! I don't really know what was meant by "organic community," but I don't think it had to do with the food. I'm always happy to have a conversation with you. I always learn something! 🤗

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You're too kind, Ruth! ❤️

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Feb 27, 2023Liked by Ruth Stroud

Great piece. We have stopped there before but maybe we need another visit, just for the food.

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Thanks, Ellen. There's so much more than the pastries and pancakes too, but we didn't have time to try as much as we would have liked. So we'll be going back too! It's really lovely country.

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We used to visit there when I was little. It was fun to have lunch, walk around, and get a treat from a bakery before heading home to Santa Barbara.

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Thanks so much, Kate. Those sound like precious memories. I'd love to hear more about them.

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Love this piece--glad you got in all the history.

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deletedFeb 28, 2023Liked by Ruth Stroud
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Mar 1, 2023·edited Mar 1, 2023Author

Thanks for reading, commenting, and subscribing, Sarah! The memory of getting a Kringle at Christmas time is a sweet one! Good luck with your newsletter. I look forward to reading it.

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RemovedFeb 28, 2023Liked by Ruth Stroud
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Hi Vivek! Thanks for reading and commenting! I subscribed and look forward to your newsletter. Good luck!

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