Usually when you think of East Tennessee, you don't think of Key Lime pies. Well, the Blond Giraffe has stuck it's neck out here and is continuing its delightful confections.
If you are headed down the parkway in Pigeon Forge, you might miss it like I did the first time... then I realized it was in the back of Boomerz, a gas station. Well, I have seen more peculiar things.
I walked into the factory to meet Tania and Roberto, the owners. They have moved here to expand as wholesale suppliers. Seems it's easier to get pies out of East Tennessee than it is Key West.
Tania is from Brazil, and here's something I did not know--Brazil is a major exporter of key limes. Here I thought they were just in Florida. sheesh.
The recipe is from Tania's 96-year-old grandmother. She has changed it up a bit because it seems Americans like a more tart taste. Now, maybe you can or can't tell, but I have eaten a lot of key lime pies in my life, it is one of my favorites. I was a little skeptical of this pie until she handed me a piece dipped in chocolate on a stick.
Wait for it...wait for it.. Sweet Ernest Hemingway that was delicious. My mouth was watering after the first bite. They got the idea to dip it in chocolate after seeing cheesecake being dipped in New York City.
Now they have some groovy pies, but they have also expanded into some cookies and candies. Plus, you can buy their lime juice to make your own pies. Honestly, if they are going to ship it to my door, I might just forgo the juice. Also, I am sure there are some stories that I can schedule near a Zoomerz so that I might grab one. You may also see them popping up at your favorite eateries around Knoxville.
Tania and Roberto still have their sunkissed skin from Florida and they have the smiles of East Tennessee across their faces. If you have a chance, check them out. I can always help you eat the rest of the pie :)
You can find the pies at the service stations and gasp.. you can pie individually wrapped chocolate covered goodness there as well.