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Valentine’s Day Desserts: Uncover February’s Chocolate Temptations

A family is running in a meadow at sunset. plan holiday season with rich ranch

It’s February; time to indulge in some sweets for your sweetie (and also for yourself) or maybe some ganache for your valentines. Perhaps the savory side sets your family’s hearts aflutter, or your first love is actually wine. However you want to celebrate love this month, we’ve rounded up the best spots in Orcutt, Los Alamos, and Solvang for rich chocolate and yummy baked goods, plus dessert wine or port to go with them.

Start in Solvang, the Danish Center

You can’t go wrong for baked goods in the Danish town of Solvang, located just 30 minutes from Rice Ranch. The pastries originally from Denmark are world-famous, and this town boasts many traditional Danish bakeries that feel like a step back in time. You’ll also find chocolatiers, a fudge kitchen, and a Swedish Polkagris maker. Such a fun way to experience the history of Solvang!

Start by learning all about Danish pastries, and then check out our favorites below.

Birkholm’s Bakery was founded by Carl “Cookie” Sr. and Charlotte Birkholm in 1951. The Birkholm’s have been baking as a family and passed from generation to generation for over 60 years. In 1980, Carl Jr. and Elizabeth Birkholm stepped in to carry on the tradition of baking in Solvang. Carl continues to use the original Danish recipes that “Cookie” brought over from Denmark.

Arvid Petersen, the founder of Danish Mill Bakery finished his apprenticeship as a baker in 1931 in Denmark. Upon receiving his degree as a journeyman baker, he went to work for one of the finest bakeries in Copenhagen. While working there he supplied the baked goods for King Christian X. In 1940 the Petersens started the Danish Mill Bakery in Copenhagen. The family immigrated to the United States in 1957 and opened their bakery in Solvang in 1960. Through the years the Petersen family has maintained the finest quality baked goods and has now added lunch for your enjoyment.

Nestled in the heart of Solvang in the Petersen Village Square, is Mortensen’s Bakery. This quaint bakery and café is still run by its original owners of over 40 years. Using old-world recipes from Ove Mortensen, a Danish baker from Copenhagen, it’s still an all-time favorite. The Petersen sisters continue to carry on Ove’s legacy creating authentic, buttery-rich pastries using traditional recipes and the finest ingredients. It features mouth-watering, flaky pastries, all-butter shortbread and real whipped cream napoleons, and chocolate eclairs.

Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery is owned and operated by Bent and Susy Olsen. Bent, a third-generation master baker, brought his great-grandfather’s original Danish recipes with him from faraway Aerøskøbing, Denmark in 1970. Today, he still uses those original, cherished, family recipes. Olsen’s specializes in a large variety of authentic, delicious Danish pastries, breads, cookies, and cakes including Danish Custard Kringle, Almond Tarts, Butter Rings, and an authentic RundsTykker Danish Continental Breakfast.

The Solvang Bakery is a family-owned boutique bakery located in Solvang California, specializing in custom wedding cakes, birthday cakes, and Danish-American desserts for every occasion! The Solvang Bakery is well known for its custom gingerbread houses and creations. Our colorful, delicious gingerbread recipe was developed by our founder, Susan Halme, and has been a source of holiday joy for over 30 years. The Solvang Bakery custom gingerbread houses are a favorite among the Kardashians, Rosanna Pansino, and Kelly Ripa, and have been featured on the Ellen Show and Hallmark’s Home and Family.

Old Danish Food Farm & Fudge Kitchen first opened its doors in 1961 with a fudge recipe passed down from generation to generation, dating back to the late 1800s. We use an old-fashioned copper pot heated over a gas-burning stove to mix our 25-pound batches, using only all-natural ingredients. The ingredients are boiled and then poured onto one of our 750-pound Vermont marble tables. Once the fudge has cooled sufficiently, a large paddle is used to “cream” the fudge. The “creaming” process continues to cool the fudge, but, most importantly, the “creaming” breaks down the sugars in the fudge so that the resulting fudge is creamy in texture. As the fudge cools and thickens, a smaller spatula is used to form the fudge into a long loaf. Finally, the fudge is hand-sliced into quantities of approximately 1/2 of a pound and is ready to enjoy.

Patrons of Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates can thank founder Ingeborg Larsen for the traditional Danish chocolate recipes we enjoy today. Ingeborg worked as a chocolate dipper for one of Denmark’s largest chocolate factories and eventually opened her own chocolate shop in Copenhagen, Denmark. When she came to America, Ingeborg brought over her original recipes, some of which are now over 70 years old. In 1961, Ingeborg and her sister Carla put her recipes to good use by opening this chocolate factory. Thus goes the tale of how Solvang’s chocolate artistry began.

Swedish Candy Factory is part of the Stafford’s Chocolate family, and we are proud to be the only bakery in the USA that makes authentic handmade Polkagris. This Swedish candy stick was invented in 1859 by Amalia Eriksson in the town of Granna, Sweden, and remains a popular candy tradition in Sweden. Committed to baking the very best Polkagris, we use the traditional 150-year-old method with no artificial sweeteners, chemicals, or preservatives. Selections of Stafford’s Chocolates are also available.

Wine pairing: Try a dessert wine, port, or sparkling wine at Lucas & Llewellen or Casa Cassara; both tasting rooms are right in town.

Stay Close to Home in Orcutt

You can’t go wrong with Orcutt Bakery, a scratch bakery that specializes in custom cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and specialized desserts. Valentine’s Day Desserts are now available for PREORDER. Items will be ready for pick up on Feb 10th -Feb 14th.

Cups and Crumbs has a full array of coffee drinks, hot and cold, smoothies, crepes, breakfast bagel sandwiches, and a full bakery service available. We feel our products are different from anything else around focusing on quality ingredients while striving to provide excellent service. Orcutt is near and dear to all of us and we want to provide a great place for people to come hang out and eat our delicious menu items.

Wine pairing: Cottonwood Canyon east of town has a rich dessert Syrah, and nearby Presqu’ile makes Champagne-style bubbles Valentine’s Day Desserts.

Get Savory in Los Alamos

If savory baked goods, artisan French-style sourdough bread, or peanut butter cookies are more your style, head to Los Alamos!

Bob’s Well Bread Bakery & Café offers Artisan breads, pastries, breakfast, and lunch. Bob’s Well Bread Bakery products are hand-made with only the finest ingredients and natural starters. No added preservatives will be found in any of the things they bake, and they strive to source ingredients locally using farmers and growers who practice the purest growing initiatives. They allow our loaves to take their time, and they practice old-world European traditions and techniques to make the very best breads and baked goods they can.

Wine pairing: some quirky, cool choices here are co-fermented cider (grapes and apples) at Casa Dumetz, or some red sparkling Shiraz, called Fizz, from Municipal Wine.

Valentine’s Day Desserts

Chef Jesper Johansson has been cooking on Bell Street in Los Alamos for 20 years, and now runs Plenty on Bell, serving locally-driven, elevated comfort food. Stop in for a satisfying meal, and make sure to choose from the assortment of delicious sweets made daily. A must: get his famous peanut butter cookie sandwiches to go, so you can enjoy them later!

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