Snapshots from our research for Florida Sweets, a book about more than Key Lime Pie, Kumquat Cake and Citrus Candy.
Sweets and the Sunshine State are a match made in heaven. With an abundance of citrus and berries along with sugar cane and honey the combinations seem endless. Native Indians used honey to sweeten dishes to add to the list of naturally sweet prickly pears and other wild fruits and berries.
The introduction of citrus by Spanish explorers continued to add variety to Floridians diets. Later, pioneers planted sugar cane and sweet potatoes as basic crops in their fields and kitchen gardens. Cane grinding and taffy pulls were community affairs and once ice cream churns were introduced, milk shakes and sundaes became a much anticipated part of community socials and dances.
Holidays are no exceptions as sweets and the state pie of Florida, the Key Lime Pie, shows up at family affairs and is featured on restaurant menus. When one of the most famous restaurants in the country, Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, added the Harry Waugh Dessert Room for after dinner desserts and drinks, you knew sweets are an important part of Florida dining. The beauty of Florida Sweets is that the ingredients are readily available in supermarkets throughout the country, so you can recreate a taste of Florida, from taffy pulls to cast-iron cobblers, no matter where you live today.