It’s no Palmetto Cheese, but it’ll do.
When I moved to New York City, I knew I’d have to give up a lot—my car, mild winters, top-notch barbecue—but I never thought pimento cheese would be one of those things. Growing up in Georgia and living in North Carolina and Alabama as an adult, pimento cheese was one of my favorite treats. It wasn’t until I moved north that I realized not everyone likes the indulgent, gooey, delicious dip as much as I do—or that not all grocery stores stock it.
I’d resigned myself to only snacking on pimento cheese (and making grilled pimento cheese sandwiches, of course) when I went home for the holidays, and then I noticed it on the shelves of my local Trader Joe’s: Pimento Cheese Dip.
Now, to be fair, it’s not the best store-bought pimento cheese dip I’ve ever had. That honor lies with Palmetto Cheese, which has large, tasty chunks of shredded cheese and is available in bulk at the Costco near my mom’s home in Atlanta. (Not that I’ve devoured all 24 ounces of one of those or anything.)
But the Trader Joe’s Pimento Cheese Dip is solid; it’s a little smoother than other varieties, with diced cheese and small pieces of pimento pepper. It’s still perfect with pita chips or tortilla chips (or any kind of chip, really), and I’m sure it’ll make a great grilled cheese, too. Like all pimento cheese dips, it should be kept refrigerated, and I’ve found that it gets a slightly rubbery texture when it hits room temperature; kept chilled, though, it’s just fine. It’s certainly better than the pimento cheese alternatives I’ve tried. (One run-in with store-bought pub cheese was enough to convince me that pimento cheese was the only chilled cheese dip for me.)
Pimento cheese isn’t the healthiest cheese option, but it’s a great little treat or pre-dinner snack. Especially in the summer, it tastes just right, and I’ve been so happy (and relieved) to be able to enjoy good pimento cheese dip all the way in New York for the last few weeks of summer. It’s become one of the best items at Trader Joe’s on my list, and at those infamous Trader Joe’s prices, it doesn’t feel like a monetary indulgence to pick up a tub of it on my weekly grocery trip.
Pimento cheese fans everywhere might rejoice at this development, but rejoice with caution: It’s not clear if this dip is available at all Trader Joe’s locations. I’ve seen it at my store consistently, but that doesn’t mean much—Trader Joe’s tends to fine-tune its offerings for its local customer base, so it’s never guaranteed that an item (especially a slightly under-the-radar item like the Pimento Cheese Dip) will be available at all locations. That said, if you’re on the hunt for it, look in the hummus and dips section—you might just spot a little orange container of pure deliciousness.