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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

Key Limes

No trip to Florida would be complete without sampling the wonderful key lime pie – although I’ve yet to find anybody that managed to stop at just sampling it!

Key limes are smaller than your average lime and rounder, a bit like a fluorescent greeny yellow golf ball!

Nearly every type of restaurant in Florida will feature this mouth watering delight from Seafood to Cuban to Italian to Sushi.

The lime grows on a key lime tree, a thorny branched shrub that can reach 15 feet and is a relative of the sour orange which is common in Cuban cuisine.

Depending on which book you read the lime was was introduced to the Keys in either the 1700’s by the Spanish or the 1800’s by the Mexicans, the tree is very sensitive to the cold but has survived well in the islands’ sub tropical climate. As you drive along the southernmost stretch of US 1, the lone road that leads to the Keys you will notice that just about every eating establishment will have a sign saying ‘the best’ or ‘the original’ – the best way to test their claims is to try them all!

Bitter and tart the juice of this fruit is not suitable for drinking but it’s unique flavour makes for an exciting range of deserts as well as the traditional ‘pie’ you will doubtless encounter such wonders as key lime soufflé, cookies, cake, ice cream, sorbet, cheesecake and even key lime baked Alaska! Having sampled many of these I have to say we always return to the traditional ‘pie’ as our family favourite. But the creative chefs in Florida seem to come up with new recipes every time we visit so perhaps I should say the traditional pie is our favourite …. so far! We keep up the research though.

The traditional pie has a crushed graham cracker crust. The filling should be cool – not cold – and can be thick and creamy for those made with lots of condensed milk to chiffon light with soaring peaks of meringue.

I guess the very best way to enjoy this wonderful slice of Floridian cuisine is to be relaxing with a loved one watching the sun go down over the Keys, but failing that pick up a pie from the supermarket and relax on the pool deck of your lovely Orlando Villa, preferably after the kids have gone to bed, after all it’s so good you won’t want to share it with them!

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Page added on: 26 September 2008
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