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Virginia-Style Pimento Cheese Recipe

Courtesy Jason Alley, chef/partner, Pasture, Richmond, VA

Pimento cheese is common throughout the South, but few cities have such passion for it as Richmond. It’s as likely to be found in fine-dining establishments as dive bars. At Pasture, Jason Alley adds freshly roasted peppers and a welcome hint of tarragon to his pimento cheese recipe.


1½ pounds grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and minced
1 shallot, minced
2 sprigs tarragon (leaves only), minced
1¼ cups mayonnaise, preferably homemade or Duke’s brand
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 dash hot pepper sauce, like Tabasco
1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper


Mix all ingredients in bowl until well combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 1 day. Serve with crackers, pickles and/or crudités.

Pair It

Barboursville Vineyards 2015 Reserve Cabernet Franc (Virginia); $25, 90 points. An intense wine for an intense dish, the pairing brings to mind the classic coupling of cheddar cheese with fruit chutney. This Cabernet Franc starts off with dynamic aromas of red cherry, red plum, bramble, fig and incense. These scents translate to lovely flavors that are complex yet elegant, with ample crushed-velvet tannins that mesh harmoniously with racy acidity and a full body. Barboursville Vineyards is located just over an hour by car from Richmond.