KEY WEST, Florida Keys — The Florida Keys' sweetest treat is to be in the "limelight" Saturday through Tuesday, July 1-4, as fans of Key lime pie salute the island chain's signature dessert and the tiny fruit that inspired it.
The fifth annual Key Lime Festival is to include a Key lime pie-eating contest, a cocktail stroll, culinary adventures and samplings of Key lime pie and locally distilled rum flavored with the tangy lime. The event was conceived by Keys author and baker David Sloan, who penned "The Key West Key Lime Pie Cookbook."
Believed to have originated in Key West in the late 1800s, Key lime pie was designated Florida's official pie in 2006 by the state legislature. Its primary ingredients are condensed milk, egg yolks and the juice of the tiny yellow Key lime, with the filling typically nestled in a graham cracker crust and topped with whipped cream or meringue.
Festival events scheduled Saturday, July 1, are rumored to include a wacky test of gravity's effects on the creamy pie. The Key Lime Cocktail Sip & Stroll is set for 2 p.m., with participants sampling Key lime martinis, margaritas and other limey libations at selected local watering holes and voting for their favorites.
Among Sunday's temptations is the Key Lime Pie Hop, a leisurely "moveable feast" where lime lovers can stroll to multiple locations to savor variations on the famed dessert — including an Oreo-crusted version at the pie's presumed birthplace.
Attendees can spend Monday noontime touring the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery, 105 Simonton St., and taste rum flavored with the luscious local limes. Those who prefer cuisine to cocktails can take a 6 p.m. Key lime cooking class from distillery owner and chef Paul Menta at Isle Cook Key West, 218 Whitehead St.
The festival's undisputed annual highlight is the Mile-High Key Lime Pie Eatin' Contest set for Tuesday, July 4, at the Ocean Key Resort at 0 Duval St. Contestants must attempt to devour an entire pie, topped with mounds of whipped cream, without using their hands — while trying to outpace their rivals and beat the pie-eating record of 62 seconds. Doors open at 10 a.m. and the contest begins at 11 a.m.
Event information, pricing and registration: keylimefestival.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
Fans of Key lime pie salute the island chain's signature dessert, Florida Keys' sweetest treat.
The fifth annual Key Lime Festival is to include a Key lime pie-eating contest, a cocktail stroll, culinary adventures and samplings of Key lime pie and more.