A recent trip to Key West in Florida led us to a most wondrous introduction: say hi to Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe’s Key Lime Pie on a Stick. (Woooh, that was a mouthful…and so was the pie!)
Although they did have the traditional key lime pie (there’s even a gluten-free version), it was this lip-smacking-looking treat that had us all agog. We’d never come across anything like it. On that stick sat this triangular wedge of frozen pie enrobed in smooth, dark chocolate. One bite, and we were hooked. The wonderfully bright and tart flavors of the key lime pie shone through even when frozen and then coated in luscious Belgian chocolate. It wasn’t all sour though as the graham cracker crust and condensed milk in the filling wove their sweet magic into the pie. No wonder Alton Brown (of Food Network fame) included it in his list of Top Ten Desserts in America.
If you’re lucky, you might even spot its creator Kermit Carpenter on the nearby sidewalk, waving at passersby.
Did you know that the ever-famous and now almost-ubiquitous Key Lime Pie has its origins in Key West (hence, the name)? There are a number of competing theories about it, particularly the who and the how, but all point to this southernmost part of continental USA as its birthplace. Thing is, it’s been said that many shops selling “key lime” pies actually use Persian limes, but Kermit’s Shoppe prides itself on using only authentic key limes.
Take note: there’s a lot more on offer here than just Key Lime Pie. They’ve ingeniously used key lime in many varied states and forms—from cookies, cakes, fudge, and pretzels to marmalades, salsas, and chutneys, to marinades, dips, and salad dressings, and even as flavoring for peanuts! (It’s a good thing they allow free nibbles as some treats go overboard with the lime levels, but it all depends on your preference, really.) They’ve even gone to non-edible territory, selling key lime-infused soaps, shampoos, lotions, and lip balms. For us Filipinos, it’s a haven for pasalubong-worthy items.
If all those delectable goods make you hungry for something more substantial, worry not. The original location is also home to Kermit’s Kitchen Cafe, where you can have your fill of snacks (e.g. salads, wraps, sandwiches, soup, chili, and fries), full entrees (e.g. BBQ ribs, fish and chips, pasta, and crab cakes), and all-day breakfasts in their cozy patio.
If you ever find yourself on this side of Florida, make sure your trip includes a stop at this Key West institution (it’s been around for more than 20 years!), Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe is something you should certainly not pass up on.
Kermit’s Original Key West Key Lime Shoppe
200 Elizabeth Street
Key West, Florida 33040
Hours: 9 A.M. to 9:30 P.M.
Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe (second location)
802 Duval Street
Key West, Florida 33040
Hours: 10 A.M. to 10 P.M.