How Much Do You Know About Mediterranean Cuisine?

olive-oil

Mediterranean cuisine refers to all the foods the people of the Mediterranean Basin region prepare for mealtime. The region extends to neighbouring nations, but includes Morocco, Israel, Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Turkey and Egypt.

The region incorporates a wide range of spices and ingredients, which turn mediocre foods into spectacular and flavourful dishes.

What’s more, the ingredients in Mediterranean foods are organically grown and prepared fresh, so it’s healthy.

Australians may be across the globe from the Mediterranean Sea, but the cuisine can be found in practically every home and scads of local eateries.

The Mediterranean Region

Yes, Italian and French foods are Mediterranean foods, although chefs and home cooks prepare and consume them in America. Mediterranean cuisine is a diverse combination of foods from several ethnic groups.

While it doesn’t belong to one group of people, it’s still the result of a culmination of cultures.

One of the earliest civilisations began near the Mediterranean Sea border. This is where the people found rich soil to grow their crops. It was also the perfect climate in which to cultivate the land.

With this in mind, this area became a major aspect of the food trade.

The land was at a point where Europe, Africa and Asia could exchange goods without any problems.


The townspeople would bring spices and other commodities to the exchange location. As a consequence of the distribution, certain ingredients would be used in the preparation of their meals.

This is how different components were brought to the recipes, and Mediterranean cuisine was born.

Because of different spices, the Mediterranean style of cooking remains extremely popular. Mediterranean Culinary History

The conquering of the civilisations is another reason the Mediterranean cuisine originated.

Once a new civilisation dethroned a government, the conquerors forced their own cooking practices on the new group of people.

This blend of cultural recipes became the typical culinary experience for the new civilisation or a community of people.

Southern France, Italy and Spain make up the Southern European foods.

They use specific ingredients to cook traditional dishes. One main ingredient is wine. Europeans consume wine with their meals or use it to add flavour to their favourite dishes.

Pork is also prevalent in southern France, Italy and Spain, but not so much in the other countries near the Mediterranean. However, the cooks use pork more than mutton, lamb or goat.

To get that unique flavour southern Europeans crave, try mustard, pine nuts, garlic, anchovies and the anise plant.


North African stews are spicy, and so are their sauces. Most of their recipes call for cinnamon, paprika, saffron, cloves of garlic, dried fruit and cumin.

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Morocco, Libya, Algeria and Tunisia offer their cooking traditions to the public by giving character to North African cuisine.

Grains used in rice dishes and flatbread are amazing companions to poultry, lamb and mutton. The eastern Mediterranean chefs typically skewer goat meat to form gyros and kebabs for grilling.

Shared ingredients for a Mediterranean dish include nuts, lemon juice, mints, parsley and pomegranates. They make terrific spreads or dipping sauces for the kebab.

Common Ingredients in Mediterranean Cuisine

The cultural influences are what makes the Mediterranean cuisine desirable, but the land is what drove the people to gather the food.

Without fertile soil and the moist or sunny climate, there would not be any way to grow the crops. One of the main ingredients stemming from the land is olive oil.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is bitter, but it can be used in many ways, including for health purposes. Put it on top of a salad, in a dressing or use it to cook.

The whole olive is also a regular guest on the Mediterranean menu. By the way, olive oil comes from pressing the whole olive.

Fresh Vegetables

Squash, artichoke, onions, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and mushrooms are dominant ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine.

Don’t forget it’s just as easy to bake, grill, sautee or puree vegetables as it is to boil them.

Meat

In most Mediterranean dishes, meat is limited to small portions, and it is grilled. The region doesn’t support herds of livestock such as cattle, so the options for meat are limited to chicken and pigs.

The people also indulge in wild game.

The sheep and goat are used for cheese, yoghurt, and milk as well as for meat cuts.

Seafood

When it comes to protein, seafood is an excellent choice no matter where you live. In the Mediterranean, it’s chosen frequently as an indigenous meal.

There may be some differences, but mostly the common ingredients include rosemary, parsley, garlic, fennel, oregano, marjoram, dill, rosemary, thyme and basil.

Image via Pixabay CC0 license

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