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The Mediterranean

The Culture

 

The Mediterranean Sea and its surrounding countries have been attracting a great deal of attention for centuries.  The rich history and deep culture in the region go back to the dawn of civilization. 

And of course, the food! Ah yes, the food. 

There is a common misconception when it comes to the topic of mediterranean cuisine.  At times, that term leads people to think of middle-eastern cuisine.  It is true that a section of the middle-east is a part of the mediterranean region.  However, the region is much more diverse than that.  The northern & Western shores of the mediterranean are home to European countries (Spain, France, Italy, Albania, Greece & Turkey); the Southern part invites the countries of North Africa (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco); and to the east, also the home of middle-eastern countries (Syria, Lebanon & Israel); spread throughout the mediterranean sea are its magnificent islands: Cyprus, the Greek Islands, Sicily, Sardinia, Malta, the Balearic Islands, to name a few. 

The Cuisine

It is now clear that this is a melting pot of cultures, tastes & cuisines.  Therefore, when mediterranean cuisine is discussed, the reference is to the entire region and all of its countries’ different foods.  Here lies the key to the greatness of mediterranean cuisine and the lifestyle that comes with it.  The different cultures use the same ingredients that are indigenous to the region with so many variations to create a rich and diverse culinary landscape, influenced by the sea, the land, the people and the passionate interaction between the three.

The Main Ingredient

 

At the top of the region’s food pyramid, on a glorious throne, sits the undisputed king of kings in the mediterranean:  The mighty olive and it's most famous derivative, olive oil.  The mediterranean region is the leader in both production and consumption of olive oil.  In Greece, the world champion of olive oil consumption, the average person consumes 24 liters of olive oil a year (6.34 gallons)! In Spain, 15 liters (4 gallons) and Italy, 13 liters (3.4 gallons).  For comparison, an average American consumes 1 liter (roughly 1 quart) of olive oil a year.  As far as production, 95% of the world’s olive oil is produced in mediterranean countries.

 

The Diet

 

The Guy

         

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