#Festival: Got Key Lime? - A bowl of food - Key lime pie

A friend asked my wife and I if we were going to have some Key lime pie on our trip to the Florida Keys. Wondering what the big deal was, we decided to do a little pie experiment while on vacation. We wanted to find out what the big deal about the Key lime pie was! 

Our first pie was from the bakery at Publix in Marathon that said, “Original Key Lime Pie Made With Real Key Lime Juice.” With great anticipation, we conducted our taste test with the immediate consensus being that this pie tasted like most other Key lime pies we had tasted. Not sure exactly what else we were expecting from grocery store pie. 

Kermit’s Key West Lime Shop sells all things Key lime pie, up to and including Key lime pie on a stick dipped in chocolate. A sign inside says, “Key Lime Pie Heaven,” and the menu on the wall says the shop produces award-winning pies. 

By comparison, this pie had more Key lime flavor, higher acidity and a better texture. It was unlike any other Key lime pie we had ever tasted.

Burdines, in Marathon, has deep-fried Key lime pie! This is a culinary feat of food engineering! The pie part in the middle is frozen and the outside is like a warm éclair. We strolled around the marina enjoying the sunset and spent a good deal of conversation trying to figure out how the restaurant kept the pie cold in the middle and warm on the outside. We could have asked, but it’s fun to just leave some things a mystery – like, how many calories are in a piece of Key lime pie? 

We also tried Key lime pie from the 7 Mile Grill, the Key Colony Inn and Sweet Savannah’s. Each was unique in very subtle ways. 

This little experiment became a mission for us. We didn’t come to the Keys to eat pie,  but it turned out that we ate pie more consistently than anything else. We snorkeled, kayaked, fished, swam, sunbathed, read, grilled and had the best vacation ever. 

Yet, all our adventures were interwoven with pie. Key lime pie in the Florida Keys is not so much about the pie as the people you enjoy the pie with. It is about the adventures surrounding the pie. It is about how sweet life is that we may enjoy the pie to begin with. 

We may not remember which one was frozen and which one was deep-fried, but we will remember that because of this dessert we began to dream of how soon we could come back to the Keys. We were inspired to think and interact in our relationship. We laughed and loved and took a silly little question and turned it into something we will never forget as long as we live. 

The big deal about key lime pie in the Keys is that “Hey, you’re in the KEYS!”


Wynn Greer