Companies booking a Keys meeting or retreat are likely to be focused on social responsibility, renewal and sustainability. Keys cuisine may be organically enhanced with fresh lime, mango, avocado, papaya and coconut, while mouthwatering fish gracing an evening table was likely unloaded just hours earlier from a local dock.
The Keys’ sweet stone crab claws, served with drawn butter or chilled with mustard sauce, are a prized sustainable and renewable resource. Once claws are removed, a crab is returned to sea to regenerate its claws.
An event meal might include yellowtail, hog and mutton snapper, hogfish, grouper or mahi-mahi. Meeting participants especially enjoy a catch-and-cook fishing event, with fish served grilled, broiled, blackened, baked, fried or steamed.
For lunch, groups can savor delicious sandwiches loaded with fish, stuffed and pressed Cuban-style, or a tasty Lobster Reuben. Salads can be topped with succulent seafood.
Key West pink shrimp -- light and flavorful, generally sweeter than other crustaceans – are bountiful. “Pinks” are battered, baked, boiled, broiled, fried, grilled, steamed or sautéed.
The mollusk conch (pronounced “konk”) is served in lime-kissed salad, spicy tomato chowder or fritters. Named after the chewy conch, a hardy native-born Keys resident is a “Conch” living in the island chain, known as the “Conch Republic.”
Spiny clawless Florida lobsters, served steamed or broiled with drawn butter, are another favorite.
Groups can celebrate stunning Florida Keys sunsets with tropical libations: a mojito, rum-runner or fine wine carefully paired with the meal.
Keys restaurants traditionally use Key limes to flavor seafood dishes and sauces, and no meal is complete without Key lime pie.
While each venue creates its own version of the tangy pale yellow dessert, main ingredients are condensed milk, Key limes, graham cracker crust and meringue or whipped cream topping.
Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS
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