Beer passports are a popular marketing and tourism tool for communities with high concentrations of breweries. The idea is simple: Visit breweries and fill your passport book with stamps, which can sometimes be redeemed for merchandise or discounts. Cities including Seattle and Toronto also have their own food passports. But Columbia, South Carolina, can likely claim the title of the first and only city with a pimento cheese passport.
Experience Columbia SC, the city’s destination marketing office, introduced the pimento cheese passport program just before the Master’s golf tournament, an important event on any pimento cheese lover’s calendar. Charlene Slaughter Slaughter of Experience Columbia SC tells The Post And Courier
that though the city has unique restaurants, pimento cheese appears on nearly all of them. Once a visitor collects 10 stamps in their pimento cheese passport, they are eligible to win a $50 gift card. (The passport states “Everyone who eats pimento cheese is a winner.”)
“We had to kind of cap it at 15 restaurants,” Slaughter told The Post And Courier. “We could have had 40 restaurants, because everybody really does it.”
Participating restaurants include Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe, where diners can order bacon-wrapped filet mignon with a side of “French Quarter” pimento cheese; Solstice Kitchen, serving cornmeal fried green tomatoes topped with smoked cheddar pimento cheese and candied bacon; and Terra, which offers a pimento cheeseburger pizza.
If you don’t have your Columbia vacation booked yet, don’t fret. We’ve got you.