Julefest: Solvang's month long holiday celebration.
Oprah Daily ranked Solvang as one of the “Most Magical Christmas Towns and Villages Across the World.” I felt like it was the setting of a Sartre play. In December 2017, the town’s population was a combination of traumatized evacuees from the Thomas Fire and zealous holiday tourists. The former shuffled through the streets, pasty and red-eyed from days spent talking to insurance companies while the later bounced around, rosy cheeked and plump from holiday cheer and Æbleskivers. The two groups did not mix well.
Life in our hotel room was a microcosm of our surroundings. I was agitated; Lisa was excited. I wanted to brave the smoke and ash and go back to Ojai; she wanted to walk around town tasting chocolate for the company we hadn’t yet started. We were at an impasse until I expressed my deepest fear, “This town is going to ruin Christmas for me.” With that, Lisa knew it was time to go. As off brand as it is, I absolutely love the holidays. I couldn’t let a Danish town in central California take that away from me.
As we drove home, Lisa and I discussed how our business would look in a town deserted from the fire. The air quality would keep tourists and part-time residents away. Financially, it was going to be devastating. For Lisa, this was the perfect opportunity to pour money into another business endeavor. She was never going to let this chocolate idea die. It was time to negotiate, “If you get your chocolate company, I’m listening to Christmas music until January 5th.”
Co-Founder of Beato Chocolates