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Florida Matters
Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

After A Socially Distant Year, The Zest Podcast Returns With A Greater Focus On Florida Food History

Fred Opie headshot.jpg
Arcadia Publishing
Arcadia Publishing
Dr. Fred Opie is one of the guests on this season of The Zest.

This week on Florida Matters, we'll learn more about the new season of WUSF's food podcast, The Zest, and get a taste of some episodes.

This week on Florida Matters, we'll learn more about the new season of WUSF's food podcast, The Zest, and get a taste of some upcoming episodes.

The Zest dives into the world of Florida food through interviews with chefs, farmers, restaurant owners and historians.

Former WUSF staffer Robin Sussingham hosted its first two seasons with Dalia Colón as her producer. Colón is a long time journalist in the Tampa Bay region. You’ve probably heard her here on WUSF or seen her on WEDU-TV, where she co-hosts WEDU Arts Plus.

Now, Colón is the new host of The Zest Podcast. And its new season premiered last week.

Colón said the pandemic significantly changed how the podcast was done.

"In the beginning, we focused a lot on restaurants...We did a lot of food demos. But then because of the pandemic, we were forced to pivot to all remote interviews, which also opened up some new opportunities for topics we hadn't thought about. So this season, I'm focusing more on the culture and history behind Florida food ways," Colón said.

During host Bradley George’s conversation with Colón, you'll also hear clips from two upcoming episodes.

The first one is a conversation with Babson College professor Fred Opie about famed Florida writer Zora Neale Hurston's life as a foodie.

"This conversation with Dr. Opie is one of my favorites of the season because I learned so much," Colón said. "I talked to him for over an hour, which I cut it down in the edit, but it was difficult because I found it all so fascinating."

The other is about how Florida's wine industry has fared through the pandemic lockdowns.

Colón talked with journalist Judith Smelser, founder of Orlando Wine Blog, about wine bars, the politics of reopening and the ways they've managed to stay open over the past year.

Smelser also created a podcast, UnWineding, where she talks to Orlando wine bar owners about the challenges they faced in 2020.

You can listen to the full show above.

Correction: A previous version of this story referred to Judith Smelser as "former journalist."

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