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Sassy Eats & Drinks with Patrick Evans-Hylton


Pimento cheese is called the Pâté of the South, and folks in Virginia and other southern states have a longstanding love affair with this sharp, tart mix of shredded cheese, pimento, and seasonings.

Every family seems to have their own version of pimento cheese, and recipes are often highly guarded and fiercely defended.


This classic comfort food is enjoyed many ways, chiefly as a spread on a sandwich  – try it as a grilled cheese sandwich – on burgers,  or spooned in grits.

The most popular way is to use pimento cheese as a dip or spread  for toasted baguette slices, chips, crackers, fruit, veggies, and more.

This wine season, make a big batch to enjoy when entertaining at home with family and friends over a bottle or two of wine, or take it with you to a festival and enjoy sitting on a blanket with your wine finds.


We like to serve ours with an assortment of sliced French bread that’s toasted, premium crackers, slices of apple and pear, and cut pieces of carrots and celery.

In today’s segment, we are offering the pimento cheese in a hollowed out craft bread boule with bagel chips for dipping and artisan pickles on the side.

If you’d like my method for making bagel chips, email PatrickEvansHylton@gmail.com with “bagel chips” as the subject.

Here’s how to make our Sassy Pimento Cheese:

Combine 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar, 1 cup shredded mild cheddar, 1 roasted bell pepper that has been seeded and chopped, and 1/2 small sweet onion that has finely chopped in a large bowl.


Whisk the 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne together in a medium bowl; then pour over the cheese mixture. Mix well and taste, adjusting the mayonnaise and seasonings for texture and flavor. 

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving with desired accompaniments. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Note, you can use canned pimento as a substitute for the roasted red peppers.

If you’d like my method for roasting red peppers, email PatrickEvansHylton@gmail.com with “roasted red pepper” as the subject.

More, VirginiaEatsAndDrinks.com




It’s Wine Season, where grapes across Virginia are being harvested for this year’s crush and vintage.

We’re also on the cusp of Virginia Wine Month, which takes place in just a few weeks in October.

Across the region and across the state, there are many festivals to enjoy too, including the Town Point Virginia Fall Wine Festival at Town Point Park along the Downtown Norfolk waterfront. We’ll have more about that festival later in this segment.


Enjoying wine, whether at home, at a winery, or at a festival, is great – and enhanced with a few tips and tricks for swirling, sipping, and savoring the offering.  Here’s some tip:


We’ve all seen folks do it; swirl a glass of wine, stick their nose down in it, and take a delicate little sip before declaring it magnifique. Well, you don’t have to be quite that dramatic, but there are ways to swirl and sip to fully enjoy a glass of wine. Here’s how:

Hold the wine glass up to light and look at it. Is it clear and clean or cloudy with sediment? 


Hold the wine glass up against a white background, like a sheet of paper. Is the color typical of that varietal? Start taking notes of the different hues that you see so you’ll recognize if a color is typical for that type. 

Keep a tasting log – either a notebook or on an app on your smartphone – and include three or four colors you see. Use terms that resonate with you, like “buttery yellow” or “bright lavender.” 

Swirl the wine glass around just a little bit – not much. Get some air down into the wine. Now bring the glass up to your nose and smell. Like with the color, is the aroma typical of that varietal? 


As with looking at the wine’s color, take notes so you’ll have a reference as to the aromas produced by different wines. In your tasting log, include three or four notes you pick up, again with terms you understand, like “ripe cherry” or “floral.” 

Swirl the wine glass around again and take a small sip. Hold it on your tongue a minute. Consider the body of the wine. Is it appropriate for the varietal type? 

When thinking about body, consider these guidelines: a light bodied wine feels in your mouth a bit like skim milk does – that same weight. Likewise, a medium bodied wine can mimic the body of whole milk, while a full-bodied wine is reminiscent of the weight of heavy cream in the mouth. Take note in your tasting journal as to the wine’s body. 

Swirl slightly again and take another small sip, breathing in as you do. Notice the flavors, and if the wine is pleasant. Take note in your tasting log, and write down three or four tastes you pick up with words and phrases that mean something to you, like “smoky” or “lemon zest.” 


After swirling again, have another sip. Think about the taste of the wine after you’ve swallowed it. Did the flavor linger, or taper off? Did the finish end abruptly. Was there any harshness or off flavors? Write down your observations in your tasting log. 

As you finish the wine, make notes about your overall impressions then, while they are fresh in your mind. Did you enjoy it, or not? And why? How would you serve the wine – with food or perhaps out by the pool on its on? If you poured it with a meal, what dishes do you think would go with it?

I’ll have pairing tips and tricks and wine festival must-dos and must-don’ts on an upcoming blog post on VirginiaEatsAndDrinks.com

Wines in today’s segment come from Williamsburg Winery.

For more on Williamsburg Winery, visit www.WilliamsburgWinery.com

For more on Virginia wine and Virginia Wine Month, visit www.VirginiaWine.org



Scores of wines from across the Commonwealth will be celebrated Oct. 21 and 22 at the 35th Annual Town Point Virginia Fall Wine Festival in downtown Norfolk.

The good folks at Norfolk Festevents are hosting this special two-day showcasing of Virginia vino at Town Point Park along the downtown Norfolk waterfront.

Look for more than two dozen top Virginia wineries, pouring more than 200 fine wines. Look for local favorites like Mermaid Winery, which has locations in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg Winery.

A number of tickets are offered, including tasting tickets, reserved table seatings and private chalets.

For more information and tickets, visit www.Festevents.org