Santa Ynez Valley

Chili Choices to Bubble at Buellton Bash

There's great local wine and beer, too, at this appetizing, end-of-winter food frolic.

Buellton Wine & Chili Festival

DOES CHILI RULE WINTER? Well, yes, though it makes a strong showing in spring, and in summer, and those autumn-rich chilis? They're full of seasonally perfect spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. But wintertime is chili time, thanks chili-ier, we mean chillier temperatures and our desire to dine in a heartier fashion. So seeking out filling stews while winter is in the air is what many are doing, before warmer days arrive. And one of the state's most scintillating, bubbly, bean-rich, meat-deep to-dos will pop up on the very last Sunday of winter, in an area that's known for some fine vineyards and great brews. It's Buellton, we're talking about, which is home to the annual...

WINE & CHILI FESTIVAL, an afternoon dish-about that gives chiliheads a chance to graze, sip, and graze some more. Several chili samples will be there for the trying, as well as a host of spice-strong salsas, too (complementing all of those caliente chili choices). As for the "there"? Flying Flags Resort is the spot, a spread that is roomy enough to not only host a line-up of chili-making chefs but some 30 regional wineries, and breweries, too. Because chili's BFF, beverage-wise? A hearty pinot or bitter ale. And if you want to compete and show off your skills in the spice-beans-beef department? There's a challenge for that, oh yeah. It's all bubbling on March 15, 2020, and tickets are available now.

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