Recently, Visit Orlando announced the search is on for Orlando's Signature Dish, and that the featured ingredient will be Florida honey.
Why honey? The state produced 17 million pounds of honey in 2016.
Due to its temperate climate and agricultural origins, Central Florida has long had an abundance of local crops and plants that contribute to numerous flavors of honey, including gallberry, saw palmetto, blueberry, Brazilian pepper, and - of course - popular orange blossom from the region’s once-flourishing citrus groves.
“Florida has the largest variety of honey – more than any other state in the U.S.,” said Orange Blossom Beekeepers Association’s communications director Beth Fox. “The diverse ecology in Central Florida, in particular, yields a wide variety of nice honey flavored by different wildflowers.”
A group of area chefs and food and beverage specialists met with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Visit Orlando destination experts to consider exploring a signature dish for the region.
The idea to focus on a culinary competition to showcase local honey grew from that initial challenge.
The culinary part of the competition will kick off this fall and is open to all Orlando restaurant chefs. Dishes can be submitted now through Oct. 1, and dish criteria are:
- Local honey must be a key ingredient
- The dish must be a dessert
- It is available to the public in a restaurant or food venue
- Only one entry per restaurant
Beginning October 2, diners will find a list of participating restaurants and their respective honey dish “candidates” on VisitOrlando.com/Dish. The dessert will be featured on each restaurant’s menu, and the public is encouraged to try each one and vote for their favorite throughout the campaign, which ends on November 3.
In November, the field will be narrowed down to the Top 10, based on the desserts that received the most votes. The finalists will then re-create their dish for a panel of food expert judges, who will choose the winning dessert. The winner will be announced in December.
I, personally, cannot wait to try all the desserts and cast my vote for what I'm sure will be a very hard to choose winner.
Watch this video to learn more about the search for Orlando's Signature Dish, and follow along on social media at @VisitOrlando and hashtag #MyOrlandoDish.