Anne's Blog

Italy’s Mediterranea  Diet: Topping Chez Panisse

Date: June 14, 2017 - categories: , , , - 4 Comments

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:

* Fresh fruits and vegetables

vegetables

market-fruits

tomatos

* Nuts

peppa-breaks-nuts

cutting-nuts

nuts

* Legumes

lentils

legumes

LEGUMES

fave-and-pecorino

* Grains

farro
farro-salad

* Fish

roasted-fish

spaghetti-allo-scoglio

tasting-spaghetti-allo-scoglio

* Bread, pasta…and pizza!

mix-breads

peppe-eats-bread

pizzaiolo

pizza-margherita

potatos-pizza

pizza-margherita-2

white-pizza

peppas-bread

* limited amounts of lean meat

rossannas-meat
pino-eats-tagliata

* Moderate amounts of cheeses and other dairy products

cheeses-mix
formaggio-stagionato

broccatellis-cheese

tomini

PECORINO-CHEESE-FROM-ABRUZZO-

Pecorino,-prosciutto,-salami-of-Norcia

preparing-ricotta

* …and olive oil, logicamente!

oil-bruschetta

chiarina-prepares-bruschetta
peppe-and-gentile

olive-oil-recipient

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).

pasta-and-red-wine

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:

melanzane

frittata

summer-pasta
peppas-panzanella

salad

roasted-vegetables

med-diet

tomatos-bruschette

pasta-with-piselli-sauce

pinzimonio

vegetables-on-table

zucchine-and-eggplants

fresh-tomatos

zucca-flowers

compositions-with-parmigiano

vegetables-mix

tomatos-roaasted

carciofi

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

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Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)