What do you imagine when you think of Florida? Golf courses? Disneyland? Many people would say oranges as Florida’s warm climate has made it the largest citrus producer in the United States. Yet beyond the humble orange there is a surprising range of tasty cuisine in the sunshine state. Culinary influences come from Latin America, the Caribbean as well as other parts of the southern United States. Here are some five great Florida foods to whet your appetite:
1. Bean Salad
Bean Salads are a traditional side dish all over South America, the salad should be served chilled and is a great, fresh compliment to cooked meat and fish. Both light and filling, this salad will be a hit with the whole family.
2. Fried Plantain
Fried plantain dishes are popular in many parts of the southern United States and particularly in Florida. It is common for the plantain to be stuffed with braised chicken, beef or pork as a filling. Not exactly healthy but very tasty.
3. Swamp Cabbage Stew
This southern gem is cooked using the heart of the young sabal palm trees that can be found all over Florida. The vegetable is roughly chopped and mixed with tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and fresh spices. This was first eaten by Native Americans in the region so it has a bit of history behind it. Why not try making your own version at home?
4. Oatmeal Cookies
For those with a sweet tooth, there’s nothing like a fresh batch of home-made cookies to instil some youthful nostalgia; the oatmeal version are suitable for vegans, and you can add your own variety of dried fruits or cinnamon to the mix. Experiment and see what you like best!
5. Key Lime Pie
The official pie of Florida, this rich and sweet dessert is found almost everywhere now. But you haven’t really tried it unless you’ve booked flights to Florida and sampled a local recipe.Those looking to travel to the Sunshine State should not miss out on Floridian key lime pie, which is in fact yellow, not green, owing to the distinctive colour of the limes in the Florida Keys.
Americans have a big appetite and Florida is no different – if you’re planning a trip be prepared for big portions and warm hospitality. Enjoy the diverse flavours of the sunshine state!
What other Florida foods should people try when traveling?