If there is one snack you have to try while in the South its pimento cheese. By themselves, the basic ingredients for pimento cheese sound less than desirable but once you put them all together they transform into a spread you won't be able to get enough of.
Referred to as "the caviar of the South" pimento cheese is a delicious spread of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos. Sometimes cream cheese is added as well as taste enhancers like jalapenos and dill pickles. Every Southern family has their own special recipe they pass down generation to generation.
The spread gained popularity after farmers in Georgia started growing their own pimentos (peppers) which until then, were an expensive import from Spain. By the 1920s, Pomona Products Company of Griffin, Georgia was packing 10 million cans of pimentos a year. From there it became a popular sandwich spread in the South. Now, multiple towns across the Southern United States celebrate their love of pimento cheese with festivals and one town in South Carolina has even created a pimento cheese trail complete with a stampable passport.
The people at Experience Columbia SC have put together a pimento cheese passport for cheese lovers, and you are going to want to collect all the stamps.
Visitors can pick up an official Columbia SC Pimento Cheese Passport at any of the participating restaurants or at the Columbia SC Visitor's Center to track their pimento cheese eating progress.
From the classic to the bold, visitors can look forward to trying dishes like fried green tomatoes topped with pimento cheese, a vegan-friendly pimento cheese wrap and even low country hashbrowns topped with delicious pimento cheese. There are even pimento cheeseburgers and pimento hot dogs.
Interested in which restaurants are included? Here's the full list:
- Di Prato's Delicatessen
- Mr. Friendly's New Southern Café
- Solstice Kitchen
- Cellar on Greene
- Rockaway Athletic Club
- The Whig
- Midwood Smokehouse
- The War Mouth
- Spotted Salamander
- Good Life Café
- Café Strudel, West Columbia
- Café Strudel, Lexington
Pick up a passport, order a pimento cheese dish, and get it stamped by your server after you spend $10 at the restaurant. Once you've got 10 stamps, take a picture of your passport and email it over to Experience Columbia SC where you will be entered to win a $50 gift card. Sounds like a win-win to us.