Declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2013, Mediterranean cuisine has its own identity. What defines it goes beyond the ingredients it uses, and for this reason, it is essential that you get to know it in depth. The best way to appreciate its full value is to enjoy it when it has been prepared in the cultural context that gives it its character.
Characteristics of Mediterranean gastronomy
The set of practices, knowledge and traditions developed over time is one of the most outstanding features. As you can imagine, it reflects the customs of the countries located in the Mediterranean basin: Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Croatia and Morocco.
This healthy gastronomy is based on certain ingredients, among which olive oil stands out. Wholegrain cereals feature prominently, mainly in the form of wheat bread. Grapes make an appearance with its star product, wine, the preferred accompaniment to meals.
The consumption of meat, fish and dairy products is moderate, in contrast to the abundance of vegetables and fruit, always fresh and in season. The use of sofritos, made with garlic, tomato, onion and pepper, gives it its special touch.
And you couldn't imagine it without the condiments. They are available in great variety and are wisely administered by those with ancestral knowledge and experience.
Uses and customs
The origin of the ingredients is not unimportant, as you should know that the ways of cultivating the land, fishing and raising animals are unique to this part of the world. Once they arrive at the market, the food is the protagonist in a cultural space where culinary practices are preserved, respected and exchanged.
In the kitchens, knowledge, traditions and cooking and preservation techniques are passed on from one generation to the next. They remain attached to the rhythm of the seasons, festivities and family celebrations.
Finally, the daily act of eating is an important event. It is a time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to open up a communication break, while sharing food.
The occasion serves to renew and reaffirm the ties that bind the community or family together. This fundamental feature involves the transmission of values such as good neighbourliness, hospitality and dialogue, among others.
Mediterranean cuisine is more than a way of eating. It is the way of life of the people who prepare it