5 Most Popular Southwest Florida Dishes to Serve at Your Meeting

Assorted pastries

When you host a meeting on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, your guests expect a few things. Warm weather, miles of sandy beaches and, of course, plenty of classic Florida cuisine. If you’re unsure of what that entails, read on for a beginner’s guide to the Sunshine State’s must-try dishes.

Pink Gold Shrimp

Considered by crustacean connoisseurs to be some of the sweetest shrimp in the United States, the Gulf of Mexico’s pink shrimp are an undeniable staple of Floridian food culture. In the 1950s, fishermen coined the term “pink gold” to describe this incredibly lucrative catch, and the fanfare hasn’t wavered since. Pink shrimp can be steamed in the shell and served as cocktail hors d’oeuvres, or lightly battered and fried for a scrumptious main course.

Shrimp platter

Cuban Sandwiches

Born in Havana and perfected in Southwest Florida, Cuban sandwiches are a delicious lunchtime delicacy. There may be some dispute about what constitutes a true Cubano, but almost every recipe features some combination of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and spicy mustard. These ingredients are piled high between two slices of heavily buttered Cuban bread and pressed on a grill until the sandwich reaches a flaky golden brown.

Key Lime Pie

Another dish invented elsewhere but adopted with open arms in Southwest Florida has staked its claim as the area’s favorite tangy dessert. Key lime pie was first concocted in the Florida Keys and named after the area’s key limes, which are smaller and a bit more tart than limes you’d find in a grocery store. The pie’s citrusy center is usually balanced by a sweet, creamy topping and garnished with key lime and kiwi slices. 

Locals take this refreshing treat very seriously. In 1965, a Florida State Representative proposed legislation calling for a $100 fine to any establishment advertising key lime pie not made with authentic key limes. The bill, strangely, did not pass. 

Oysters and Scallops

You can’t host a meeting in a place made famous for its shelling without serving up some shellfish. Your guests are sure to fall for oysters, the ocean’s most notorious aphrodisiac. Order them steamed, or dish them out raw and drenched in butter for a uniquely southern snack. Of course, oysters aren’t for everyone. Pan-seared scallops with linguini make for a delicious and juicy entrée for the less adventurous eaters in your group.

Table with seafood assortment

Gator Tail Bites

Florida’s answer to fried chicken may seem odd to those unfamiliar with the state. Yet, all it takes is one bite of golden-fried gator tail paired with the perfect dipping sauce to realize this dish is no joke. After all, you can’t judge a book by its cover – or in this case, by its thick leathery skin and rows of sharp teeth. 

If your mouth is watering for a taste of Floridian flavors, satisfy that craving and order up some more info on planning your next corporate event on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.

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