There’s something about the smell of woodsmoke and the golden hour light that conjures memories of autumns past, the kind of sensory symbols of a changing season that tend to carry meaning.
And if in autumns past you ever attended The Rambling at Southall, images of epic meals around communal tables, fire pits easing the chill of the air, soul-stirring slide guitars, and tasty beverages drawn from taps on the side of a converted 1940s panel van may come flooding back to your mind.
It’s been three years since the team at Southall has been able to hold such an event, but now with the Inn and Spa set to welcome the world this winter, The Rambling is back. The property has been transformed, but the aim is to preserve the epicurean experience: artisan courses celebrating the harvest from the farm and the bounty of other local producers, prepared over live fire and served family style under the stars.
Executive Chef Andrew Klamar and Executive Sous Chef Nate Leonard were there in 2018, working to conceptualize and then execute three seasons of Ramblings that people still talk about today. Now, with Southall approaching its opening, the team has expanded to include the chef de cuisine, butchery, preservation, and pastry chefs, and a brigade of first-rate sous chefs that one would expect from a world-class resort.
“Working with Nate on the menus has brought back such great memories, and we want to stay true to the experience we created before, because it was magic,” Klamar says. “Now we have an incredible collection of talent, from the kitchen to the hospitality, who will add their individual marks to the evening. It’s an evolution, and we’re looking forward to seeing old friends and hosting new ones.”
If those menus are anything like before, you can count on perfect salads from the hydroponic greenhouse, a range of heirloom vegetables and grains grown steps away—many of which you’ve likely never tried—delectable meats from neighboring farms slow smoked to perfection, or cooked on a wood-fired rotisserie. For dessert, it could be ice cream churned by a 1927 John Deere hit-and-miss engine… and all of it served against the backdrop of the Hill Country blues of Reed Turchi, another key player of Ramblings past whose sounds set the vibe.
Before and after dinner, it’s lounging around the fire pits, playing yard games, marveling at the beauty of the place, and appreciating the opportunity to get together again. That’s what The Rambling is about.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment, when we could get the public involved at Southall again and share everything we’ve been working on,” says Klamar. “Our hope is that it feels the same but somehow different, better than we remembered. Every visit to Southall should be even more memorable than the last.”