3 October, 2019 Marta Bennassar

The basis of the Mediterranean diet

Take every day fresh foods, especially vegetables, grill or roast, add a few herbs, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice – eh voila, the most simple, divine taste – no green smoothies needed here!

This is the basis of the Mediterranean diet, long recognised as being one of the healthiest diets in the world – it has been linked with decreased risk of heart disease, stroke and early death – why would you not eat it!

The Mediterranean diet –  in fact, we shouldn’t be using the dreaded word “diet”, but rather a way of life – has been inspired over the years from the many cultures which can be found around the Mediterranean sea – from Spain and North Africa to Greece and Turkey and everything in between.  The Arab lands – Lebanon, Israel and Egypt too have also had a large influence.

Key ingredients include olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables, protein-rich legumes, fish, chicken, whole grains, seeds and nuts, with moderate amounts of wine.  Some dairy and eggs, and red meat occasionally.

One of the key ingredients of the Mediterranean way of cooking is above all, simplicity.  How can something as simple as a piece of pastry topped with sweet red peppers (coca de pimiento) taste to delicious?   Or pam am boli – toasted country bread, rubbed with a fresh garlic clove, a ramallet tomato and sprinkled with olive oil – the purists are still arguing in which order these things should be done!

Another key is using local, seasonal, ingredients and following tradition.  On the islands we are lucky to have our own olive oil, our own salt and our own nuts – particularly the ubiquitous almond.

Think of favourite meals – Sopas Mallorquina (the only soup you have to eat with a fork!), Tumbet, Stuffed Aubergine, Frito Mallorquina, Paella, Caldetera de Langosta, Lechona, Lomo con Col. All made from local ingredients in their season.  For instance, Caldetera de Langosta is only served in the spring or summer, as the rest of the year fishing is forbidden to ensure survival of the stock.

Islanders take their food and customs seriously – on all the islands, at some time or another there will be food fairs (very often at agricultural or medieval fairs) but specifically aimed at certain foods – olive oil in Caimari, Almond Blossom in Son Severa, wine – Pollensa and Santa Maria, snails, honey, sobrasada, partridge, mushroom – whatever your favourite food it, there’s bound to be a fair dedicated to it!

To get a taste of everything – visit the amazing gastronomic San Juan Market in  S’Escorxador, Palma and Mercat 1930, also in Palma – where there are various stalls (a little bit like food trucks) in which  you can have a taste of whatever takes your fancy with a glass of wine or two; Mercat d’Olivar (the main Palma market) offers cava and oysters and the possibility of buying your own food and having it cooked on the spot;  the local market of Santa Catalina has become very trendy over the years, now as well as buying your fresh, seasonal produce you can also have a “fast snack” (tapita) to enjoy with your beer, wine or coffee.  Some of the stalls there also offer a delivery service to yachts in the local harbours.

One company which has combined the of best local food with best of local chefs is Evolution Yachts (a member of Balearic Yacht Destination).  Their “Kitchens of Spain” has local Michel starred chefs cooking on board yachts, using local, seasonal foods.  Whether that be a 10-course degustation menu, sunset tapas or a wine-pairing experience, imagine enjoying the best Spanish food and wine, under the stars, or perhaps at an amazing sunset, surrounded by crystal-clear waters and beautiful beaches in the comfort of your own yacht.  How fantastic!

Mediterranean diet

Mediterranean cooking

Key ingredients include olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables, protein-rich legumes, fish, chicken, whole grains, seeds and nuts, with moderate amounts of wine

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