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Eating in Florida

Florida cuisine has come under many influences and its styles vary across the state from north to south. Early Spanish and African and Southern cuisine has been influenced by Cuban and other Caribbean cultures, as well as "snowbirds" escaping from the Northern US winters. Northern Florida has a more Southern style; the south a more Caribbean one. Being on a peninsula, Florida's chefs have always had access to fresh seafood and the long growing season provides for fresh native vegetables.

Citrus is a main export, and the tourist is apt see many roadside stands offering free samples of orange juice and fruits to be shipped or carried home. Florida also grows grapefruit, avocado, mango, papaya, passion fruit, kumquat coconut and other tropical fruits. These often provide the base for sauces and marinades or are used in marmalades, soups, or desserts.

One food not readily available in many other locales is alligator. Most say it tastes like chicken and it is often prepared similarly. Key lime pie, found elsewhere now, is a Florida Keys invention, made from the local key limes.


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