In Tampa’s Cigar City, known for clubs, coffee and Cuban sandwiches, it was all about flan on Saturday in Ybor City. The Flan Festival, held in conjunction with the Saturday Market in Centennial Park is one of the area’s biggest events. This year 15 flan chefs competed for the top honors and bragging rights, a contest in which literally everyone who attended benefitted with $1 samples of the tasty Crème caramel (although with the addition of a multitude of flavors, not all was bathed in caramel). While the addictive dessert was the star of the day, Centennial Park was alive with dozens of vendors and artists, bringing out hundreds of visitors. Most of whom left with a smile and caramel on their lips.
Diana Diaz of Valrico took home the first place award in the non-traditional flan category with her piña colada flan that won rave reviews from both the judges and the crowd. The winners won hand-crafted plaques (made by Ybor artist Sarita Paccine, $600 in cash prizes and, of course, bragging rights.