Twenty-one competitors with an appetite for the Florida Keys’ signature dessert stepped into the “limelight” Tuesday during Key West’s Mile-High Key Lime Pie Eatin’ Contest.
Attorney Trey Bergman of Houston, Texas, got a face full of whipped cream and pie filling, but emerged victorious after devouring an entire Key lime pie in just 51.92 seconds — without using his hands.
The southernmost answer to New York’s Fourth of July hotdog-eating competition, the Key West consumption contest is a highlight of the annual Key Lime Festival.
Contestants were offered safety goggles to keep whipped cream out of their eyes, and Bergman added a bright yellow bathing cap to give himself a competitive edge.
“I wore the bathing cap for speed,” he said. “It helps cut through the whipped cream and through the Key lime pie so you can get to the crust faster.”
He also planned his strategy carefully and reduced calories before the event.
“If you want to win this contest, don’t eat breakfast, don’t eat a heavy dinner, don’t breathe while you’re eating,” Bergman advised.
Believed to have originated in Key West in the late 1800s, Key lime pie was designated Florida’s official pie by the state legislature in 2006. Its primary ingredients are condensed milk, egg yolks and the juice of the tiny yellow Key lime, with the creamy filling typically nestled in a graham cracker crust and topped with whipped cream or meringue.
“A lot of people like to eat apple pie on the Fourth of July because they think there’s nothing more American,” said Key Lime Festival founder David Sloan. “We like to say there’s nothing more American than Key lime pie.”
Other festival events included an offbeat Key Lime Pie Drop, tasting strolls for fans of Key lime cocktails and pie, and distillery tours featuring samples of locally crafted rum flavored with the tangy lime.