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Bacon & Barrels: Solvang Savory/Spicy

Taste fine libations and bites at the Buttonwood Farm shindig.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jeremy Ball
    Fascinating foods made with, or highlighted by, bacon, and libations made in barrels (whiskey, beer, and so forth) are the stars at Buttonwood Farm in Solvang from July 17 through 19.

    THE NAME OF THE FIRST PERSON... who noticed that some drinks enhance the flavors of some foods -- and vice versa -- is lost to history, but we vow, the next time we raise a toast, that we shall raise a toast in their historic honor. Because sips were never meant to be imbibed by their lonesome, and food without a glass or mug of something nearby, be it water or lemonade or beer, can fall on the dry side of things. So pairing the best wet finds with the best edibles has been a pleasurable pursuit of humankind for thousands of years. We all have our favorites -- milk and PB&J, merlot and spaghetti carbonera -- but few strong flavors have stood together as powerfully as the salty tang of bacon and the smoother tones of a brew or spirit aged inside a cask or woodsy container. Perhaps the fact that time plays a part in both "ripenings" is key to the fine partnership of this particular food and drink, or that they share similar tones (look at the ruddy hue of a rich applewood bacon alongside the deep amber of an IPA or maple color of an aged-for-years bourbon). There's probably a little bit of rightness in all theories, but sometimes your taste buds, and what works for your mouth, texture- and smoothness-wise, is the ultimate judge. Find out why bacon and libations hailing from barrels work so well together, at Buttonwood Farm and Winery in Solvang, from Friday, July 17 through Sunday, July 19. It's...

    BACONS & BARRELS... and chefs hailing from up and down the Central Coast, and libation-making masters from the region, will be on hand to pour and serve and chat with foodies and advise and taste the goodies themselves. The annual eat-and-sipper "donates a percentage of ticket sales to support local non-profits"; the 2015 beneficiary is Big Brothers Big Sisters. If you want a wide swath of delectables, the Grand Tasting is your bag. Over 100 or so booths with samples from area wineries and breweries and spirits houses shall dot the farm. There's a farm-to-table approach to the happening -- no surprise, given its location -- and the rich-flavored, hearty sippage/eatage rounds out on the final day with an All Bacon Brunch at Liquid Farm. Want to be at the stylish winery for your salty strips served lots of different ways? Here's where you start, barrel buffs 'n baconists.