Most geographical areas have particular flavors and ingredients that are strongly associated with them. Florida’s no different. The citrus industry has long been a primary driver of the states’ economy, and it’s the source of many of Florida’s most prevailing flavor associations. Others come from the cultural influence of the state’s high number of Latin American immigrants and its proximity to the islands of the Caribbean.
If you’re looking for edible gifts that really represent Florida, those that incorporate any of these five flavors or ingredients make perfect tie-ins:
Oranges are of course the most popular and widely used citrus fruit, and therefore the lifeblood of Florida’s citrus industry. While the number of orange groves have declined in the face of increasing development, oranges are still the quintessential agricultural product in the state.
Key limes are another citrus fruit closely associated with Florida—especially the Florida Keys, from which they take their name. Key lime pie is a famous favorite use for this fruit among locals and visitors alike, but this unique, tart ingredient makes its way into an array of products.
Banana or Plantain
These elongated fruits appear in many forms, from dried chips to breads to iconic Latin American dishes found all over Florida (like mofongo, a Puerto Rican classic). Their wonderful, distinct flavors are representative of this state that owes so much of its food culture to places like PR, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.
Here’s another tropical flavor found often in Florida. It’s the only mainland state well suited to growing coconuts (they do well in Hawaii, too), plus these trees are native to nearby islands in the Caribbean and so important to their cuisine. Plenty of beachfront bars in Florida serve mixed drinks in a coconut.
Speaking of drinks, rum is a beachy beverage that’s big in Florida. Again, it has much to do with proximity to the island nations of the Caribbean. This distilled alcohol isn’t just a common ingredient in mixed drinks, though; rum cakes and rum sauces, for example, are also popular in Florida.