Italy’s Mediterranea Diet: Topping Chez Panisse
In 1971, Alice Waters basically launched a California version of the Mediterranean diet when opening Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, promoting farm-to-table fresh local ingredients. Although I’d studied at UCB in the early 70’s, I finally tried out Chez Panisse just a couple years ago although I was rather puzzled by its rave reviews.
The food was good and fresh but not “special”: for me, daily fare here in Italy wins out.
Every Italian meal stars the Mediterranean diet, reflecting the healthy living habits of people bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Morocco, Cyprus, and Croatia. The diet varies by region – and definitions vary, too – but incorporates seasonal vegetables and fruits (five portions a day, minimal), nuts, legumes, grains, fish, starches (bread and pasta…pizza!), limited amounts of lean meat (and possibly not red meat), few sweets, moderate amounts of dairy products (mostly as cheese, yogurt) and, logicamente, olive oil.
Key ingredients of the Mediterranean diet include:
One Mediterranean diet recommendation includes five glasses of red wine a week. (Chuckles when I once erroneously told a tour group, “ the Mediterranean diet includes five glasses of red wine a DAY.” They all cheered).
The Mediterranean diet – in 2013, added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Italy – not only entices for its refreshing flavors but for also for its appeal to the eye, often showcasing kaleidoscopic colors in food pairings.
No more words needed here, for the visual must replace the written:
Read about the Mediterranean diet in Roman art, in Neapolitan creche scenes
Read about UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage
Read about a family group’s “favorite day in Italy”
Click here for a tasty squash antipasto recipe