Nearly everybody who travels to the Florida Keys samples locally caught seafood and locally made Key lime pie. They’re both great starting points for an exploration into the island chain’s memorable cuisine — but SOOO much more is available to savor!
A sweet treat from the Florida Keys is sure to make gift recipients happy.
Scores of visitors envy Florida Keys “locals” who create satisfying lives full of laid-back pleasures and unique culinary treats. But visitors too can enjoy the indigenous flavors of the Keys, and even take home mouthwatering “souvenirs” to help sustain them until their next vacation escape.
For example, any traveler in the Upper Keys who possesses a sweet tooth can stop at several spots along the Overseas Highway to discover unforgettable goodies with an island flair.
The Keys’ premier chocolate factory can be found at mile marker 100.5 bayside in Key Largo. Keys Chocolates & Ice Cream infuses local flavors into handmade chocolate confections such as luscious truffles, fudge and specialty chocolate bark with Key lime and pistachios.
If a stop at that yummy spot triggers cravings for a second helping, the born-in-the-Keys company now has another location at mile marker 81.9 in Islamorada. Visitors to that shop can choose from specialties such as ice cream, artisan chocolates, Key lime pretzels and pie on a stick.
Bob’s Bunz is named for the giant cinnamon and sticky buns created by owner Bob Spencer.
Speaking of Key lime pie, savvy dessert fans might be aware that the confection, created in Key West in the late 1800s, was voted Florida’s official pie in 2006 by the state legislature (yes, it really was!). But at Bob’s Bunz, a friendly Islamorada “comfort food” restaurant and bakery located at mile marker 81.6, the tiny limes play a starring role in other sweet temptations including Bundt cakes and bite-size cookies.
No trip to the Upper Keys is complete without exploring the eatery, whose name comes from the legendary (and absolutely gigantic) cinnamon and sticky buns created by owner Robert “Bob” Spencer. The “bunz” can be purchased at the restaurant/bakery for a takeaway treat — and lime lovers are advised not to leave without a Bundt cake or cookies as well.
Looking for some great coffee to complement those Keys taste sensations? Islamorada Coffee Roasters, known in the Upper Keys for its roving coffee van with air-roasted organic coffee, has a new retail location at 80925 Overseas Highway, just south of the Morada Way Arts District. The roaster features 100% Arabica organic coffee drinks brewed to patrons’ specifications.
Islamorada Coffee Roasters donates part of the proceeds from sales of its I.CARE Blend to the nonprofit I.CARE for Islamorada coral restoration efforts.
Other offerings include coffee-scented soy candles, Pirate Hat exfoliating soap made with ground coffee, and house-made masala chai and hot cocoa — plus snacks including scones, Key lime macaroons, coffee brownies and cinnamon streusel cake.
The roaster also features the custom I.CARE Blend, a mix of small-batch beans from dive destinations Bali, Costa Rica and Honduras. For each $25 1-pound bag of I.CARE Blend beans sold, $10 is donated to the nonprofit I.CARE for coral restoration efforts in Islamorada.
And that might be the sweetest thing of all.
Enticing as these items are, they’re only a sampling of the foodstuffs offered by creative spirits in the Florida Keys.
To discover other one-of-a-kind treats (and locally produced libations), just visit fla-keys.com/keys-crafted/ and scroll down to the section on food and drink. Be warned, however — after perusing it, you might wind up craving flavors that only a trip to the island chain can satisfy.