If you live in or have visited South Carolina, chances are you’ve see something called “Palmetto Cheese” in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. When I first moved to the Grand Strand, my mother spotted Palmetto Cheese for the first time while we were shopping and decided to give it a try. Upon tasting it, we were hooked, which is usually the reaction most people have when eating this delicious dip.
Palmetto Cheese is delectable twist on traditional pimento cheese (also known as “Carolina caviar”). The recipe was created by a woman named Sassy Henry who moved to Pawleys Island in 2002 with her family to take over the historic Sea View Inn. At first, Sassy introduced guests at the Sea View Inn to her Palmetto Cheese during summertime shrimp boils, but guests quickly craved more of the dip and soon enough, Sea View Inn cook Vertrella Brown started whipping up batches for guests. And, if you purchase a container of Palmetto Cheese, you will find Vertrella’s picture stamped on the lid.
The Sea View Inn was a historic place before Sassy and her family took ownership of the property, and Vertrella was cooking up delicious southern food for guests before the Henry family took over. Now, Vertrella continues to make lowcounty meals for guests with a different ingredient that was not on the menu before Sassy showed up: Palmetto Cheese.
Pawleys Island is known for a laid-back, “arrogantly shabby” lifestyle where days are spent lounging by the ocean, fishing, crabbing, and cooking. And, with effort to keep Pawleys Island the way it should be, big-named hotels and resorts are not permitted on the island. The Sea View Inn is one of just a handful of historic inns left in the area and Sassy and the crew keep Pawleys Island tradition alive by keeping the Sea View Inn simple, laid-back, and old school.
However, despite keeping things simple and sweet, the Sea View Inn brings back guests year after year to enjoy the charm of this family-owned property. It’s not only the captivating beauty of Pawleys Island that keeps them coming back, though; it’s the friendliness of the staff at the Sea View Inn as well as the mouth-watering Palmetto Cheese that is known as the “pimento cheese with soul.”
Sources: SeaViewInn.com; PimentoCheese.com