KEY WEST — Key lime pie lovers was in the “limelight” on Saturday in Key West.
Competitors with an appetite for the Florida Keys’ signature dessert vied for top honors in the annual Mile-High Key Lime Pie Eatin’ contest.
Steve Carr of Key West won the wacky consumption competition, a highlight of the three-day Key Lime Festival, by devouring an entire whipped-cream-topped pie in just 1 minute and 18 seconds.
“My strategy was face-plant into that pie, get right down to the crust and tear it up,” said Carr after the contest, his beard still covered in whipped cream.
The challenge drew 10 entrants, each tasked with consuming a 9-inch pie topped with mounds of whipped cream, faster than their rivals, but without using their hands.
“This is the southernmost city’s answer to Nathan’s hot dog eating contest,” said competition organizer David Sloan. “They can have the main course and we’re going to have dessert right down here in the Florida Keys.”
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 tiny yellow Key limes, with the creamy filling typically nestled in a graham cracker crust and crowned with whipped cream or meringue.
The concoction is so popular that few people visit the Florida Keys without sampling at least one slice.
“On this Fourth of July, if you’re in Key West and you’re not eating Key lime pie, you’re just not American,” said Carr.
Other Key Lime Festival events included a Key lime pie-making championship, an offbeat talent show, the Key Lime Cocktail Sip & Stroll and distillery tours featuring samples of locally crafted rum flavored with the tangy lime.
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