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Saturday, September 25, 2010


Today was different from the rest. I tried to eat 22 pies (or, at least part of them).

For some reason, Slow Food Miami asked me help judge a pie competition. The other six judges were professional foodies, chefs at top restaurants.

The charity event took place on the porch of Coral Gables' historic Merrick House. After the Pledge of Allegiance they locked the seven of us in the dining room where, for two hours, we studied, poked, and pecked at pies. They ranged from the "Coconut Cloud" to a dazzling "Key Lime Mango with Guava Creme".

One of the carambola pies was so liquid that Judge Hedy (Chef Hedy Goldsmith of Micheal's Genuine Food & Drink) said, "I'll need a straw for this". Later she corrected me when I noted that I could eat a bowl-full of extruded guava creme, "No, its not extruded, its piped!"

Whatever. Judge John (Executive Chef John Critchley of Area 31) was a helpful neighbor. We figured how to get rid of the pie we didn't like without being noticed ( mouth... napkin ...spittoon). Helpful young women fill our glasses with palate-cleansing bubbly and emptied our spittoons every twenty minutes.

I found the table talk new and interesting. Chef John took one looked at a kumquat creation and commented, "This is just a Bavarian with folded gelatin and heavy cream". It tasted great.

All of the pies tasted great, even the avocado (where sugar and lime prevailed). Choosing the best seemed impossible.

After adding the numbers and sharing thoughts the beautiful Blueberry came out on top. Someone complained, "What's with that? Slow food is about eating locally". Someone added, "The blueberries came from Gainesville, close enough".

That pie didn't even make my top five. My favorites were the locals... the guava, papaya, mango, key lime, and coconut pies. South Floridians can step outside most anytime and and pluck enough fruit to make their own pies.

Aren't we lucky.

On the right Judge Hedy keeps her eye on a pie

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