Review: Southern Season

A few weeks ago, Cazey and I were invited to celebrate Southern Season’s first year in business in the Richmond area. The event included learning more about the store and restaurant while also getting to sample some of their food.

My prior knowledge of Southern Season up until the event was mildly passable: I’d been there, made a few purchases and even went to a cooking class. I didn’t know about the restaurant at all and couldn’t have even identified that there was one. What’s interesting was listening to the managers speak about Southern Season, and that seems often to be the case: if you know of Southern Season, you either enjoy the restaurant or the store and hardly know about the other.

In keeping with the split, I’ll share with you two experiences from their store while Cazey will tell you more about their restaurant in an upcoming post.

When Southern Season first opened in Richmond (one year ago), I found out about it because my roommate’s mom really liked it this one time she was somewhere where there was one (Charlotte and Raleigh, NC; Charleston, SC; here in Richmond; and one is coming to Atlanta next year!). My roommate explained it as a fancy grocery store, so when Christmas time was rolling around and my sister said she wanted an intertwined oil and vinegar dispenser (she included image examples to prevent me from messing that up), I decided I should try the fancy grocery store out.

It reminded me of a place we had up in Connecticut where they sold restaurant-grade kitchen supplies, but also fancy dishware and specialty items.

When I first walked into Southern Season, I was greeted by a friendly woman who asked me if I needed any help today to which I quickly brushed off my intentions because I wanted to wander aimlessly around first. I soon found out that they had free samples hidden throughout the store, which made my choice to wander seem like a clear victory.

It didn’t take long for me find exactly what I needed and at a price that I thought was downright reasonable. Then I needed to round out her gift, so I thought, “Might as well get her the oil and vinegar, right?” So I head in the direction of the oil and vinegar.

And then abruptly turned around.

Because did you know that there are like 5,000,000,000 options for those? Do you want mild, strong, flavored, spicy, sweet, big, little, left, right style? I don’t even know why my sister, Louanne, would want a fancy dispenser, let alone what her intentions were for the oil, so I dropped that idea like it was hot.

However, I was in what I can only explain as what I presume Louanne would think was heaven's kitchen, so I knew the rest of her gift was right under my nose. She loves kitchen trinkets. The question just became which ones?

The two Southern Season gifts I bought for my sister, and then six months later ask for her to photograph so I can use in a blog. Photocreds to Louanne.

I refreshed myself with more free samples, took a few more free samples (because they don’t limit you), and finished finding her gift: one item being stackable pig-shaped measuring spoons, because those are practical AND a Christmas gift that screams, “I love you and thought of you when I saw these.”

My second time at Southern Season was for a company bonding cooking class. What I liked about that was leaving early from work to learn to cook while drinking a bottle of wine, or two. It was probably closer to two (the wine guy was downright brilliant about wine pairings and quite the up-seller).

What did I learn?

Not all classes are hands-on, and some are just like being in an audience of a live cooking show. I thought it was interesting, but I really want to take their food writing class and another hands-on cooking class. I think the show-and-tell class is fun, but I’m much more of a doer, so watching didn’t really enthuse me as much as I assume their other classes would. However, if you actually read what you’re going to beforehand, they clearly label the class that it’s not hands-on, so it really shouldn't have been a shock to me.

I’ve only been to Southern Season a few times, but like the above paragraph suggests, I’d love to go back for other classes and probably to buy my sister more random kitchen supplies for the upcoming Christmas season.