KEY WEST, Fla. – New York had its hot dog eating contest to celebrate Independence Day. But the Florida Keys had a sweeter alternative on Tuesday.
The Key Lime Pie Eating Championship in Key West, where Key lime pie originated, was won by Joshua Mogle, a 38-year-old Altoona, Iowa, tire manufacturing manager.
Mogle plunged face-first into a 9-inch pie smothered with whipped cream during the challenge, whose rules forbid contestants to use their hands.
The gooey competition has become a subtropical substitute to Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest.
Mogle consumed the confection in three minutes and 35 seconds, besting 24 rivals in the culmination of Key West’s five-day Key Lime Festival.
“Eat… eat… eat… always have pie in my mouth,” said Mogle, when asked about the strategy he employed.
Experts believe Key lime pie was developed in the late 1800s in Key West. Its primary ingredients are condensed milk, egg yolks and the juice of tiny yellow Key limes, typically with a graham cracker crust and whipped cream or meringue topping.
In 2006, the tart, creamy dessert was designated Florida’s official pie by the state legislature.
The competition took place less than 24 hours after a Key lime pie measuring 13.14 feet (4 meters) in diameter, to be submitted for certification as the world’s largest, was created for the Florida Keys’ bicentennial celebration.
July 3 marked the 200th anniversary of the Florida Territorial Legislature’s establishment of Monroe County, containing the entire Keys island chain.