Key West Art & Historical Society and Isle Cook Key West once again join forces to present the “Conch Revival Picnic”- an abundant, picnic-style Conch heritage dinner set to take place Wednesday, January 24 on the grounds of the Key West Lighthouse & Keeper’s Quarters. This year’s event will co-benefit Grimal Grove – a reclaimed tropical fruit park on Big Pine Key, dedicated to the local food movement, which suffered significant damage in hurricane Irma.
Prepared by acclaimed chefs Martha Hubbard and Dave Furman, this year’s Picnic – the third so far – begins with a wine and appetizer pairing from 5:00pm-6:00pm set to live music by guitarist Rolando Rojas, followed by a 6:00-8:00pm dinner of classic Key West/Conch recipes featuring produce grown at Grimal Grove. The heritage feast is to feature alligator pear salad, shrimp and grits, whole pig and fish roast, with traditional Conch sides and sauces.
“We are pleased to include Grimal Grove in this year’s picnic and hope to raise the funds necessary to help them rebuild the landscape they had worked so diligently to revitalize before Irma hit,” says Society Executive Director Michael Gieda.
Originally inspired by The Society’s board member, the late Dianne Zolotow, the Conch Revival Picnic tradition was launched in 2016 to increase awareness of Key West/Conch culture by preserving and promoting historic recipes created and consumed by Conch families for generations, but which have, over time, been disappearing from memory and tables.
Key West Food Tours creator Analise Smith returns as coordinator of the Picnic’s Conch Cook-off – a competition in which Conch cooks vie for the winning title and a cash-prize kitty.
This year, five local competitors, including Collen Mellies, Hank Kokenzie and Stewart Andrews will seek recognition as the foremost “Moulette” master. A “Moulette” is a savory sandwich-sized piece of battered and deep-fried Cuban bread stuffed with picadillo. Each will receive $100 to cover ingredient expenses and event entrance. Judging the contest are the heritage dinner chefs, Smith and her Cuban-Conch recipe aficionada mother Teresa Menendez, and any Conch Revival attendee willing to pay a small token fee towards the kitty.
The Conch Revival Picnic is sponsored by Great Events, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, Fausto’s, Three Hands Fish, and Key West Food Tours. Visit KWAHS.ORG for event tickets—$35 for Society members, $45 for non-members and free for children under age 12. For more information, contact Operations Manager Shawn Cowles at email@example.com or 305.295.6616 x111. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.