Floribbean cuisine is found in varying forms in both high-end Florida restaurants and in the homes of many Floridians. The essence of what makes a particular dish "Floribbean" is similar to many other aspects of Florida culture: that it is heavily influenced by visitors and immigrants from all over the world, but especially from the Caribbean and the American Deep South.
Typical features of Floribbean cuisine include:
- An emphasis on extremely fresh ingredients
- Complex medleys of spices, especially powerful flavors that are softened by milder ones
- An emphasis on seafood and poultry
- Generous use of fresh fruit and juices, especially citrus and sweet tropical fruits
- Special care in presentation, especially when seeking a more natural effect rather than an ostentatious one
Floribbean cooking often uses somewhat less heat than the Caribbean dishes that inspire it, but there is extensive use of several kinds of peppers. This spiciness, however, is almost always moderated by a more gentle flavorings such as mango, papaya, rum, almond, coconut, key lime, or honey.
It is common in many homes to see traditional Southern foods (such as gumbo, black-eyed peas, or crab cakes) served in the same meal as a more nuanced Floribbean dish. In most Floribbean restaurants, however, entire meals are carefully planned around a succession of delicate, complex flavors and so most dishes have been altered from their traditional forms.