Before Florida started evolving into a bona fide gastronomic destination, one respected by eaters and chefs alike, when one used the word food in the same sentence as The Sunshine State, one of two things may have come to mind: oranges and the Early Bird Special. And while both still play a very important role, pop culturally or otherwise, there's a lot more to Florida food than citrus and $3.99 prime rib, and as the locavore craze continues, in which people prefer to eat or cook with locally sourced ingredients, the following list of foods indigenous to the state can be considered the holy grail for Florida gourmands. If it's true Florida cuisine you are looking for, these are the ingredients you'll want to have, whether in some fancy, fusion restaurant or in a hands-on sea shanty with ice-cold beer, paper?napkins, and plastic cutlery.
- Key lime
- Hearts of palm
- Passion fruit
- Spiny lobster
- Stone crabs
As for the unofficial term "Florida Cuisine," it can mean many things,?but we suppose?"Floribbean," the fusion of Caribbean and Latin flavors with the aforementioned local Florida flavors, says it best, especially down in South Florida and in Tampa, where the Latin influences are so enormous. Some food snobs shudder at the term and?prefer the phrase New World Cuisine,?the product of Miami-based chef Norman Van Aken. But it's all semantics. Think?cracked conch chowder with orange, saffron, and coconut, or spiny lobster salad with mango . . . mmm.
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