Italy, Spain, Greece and Morocco have applied to the UN for world heritage status for the Mediterranean diet (although these are not the only countries bordering the Mediterranean and with similar ingredients) and a decision will be made in November. According to an article in the Guardian this week, a spokesman for an Italian farmers’ group said: ‘Not only is this culture, but it also makes you live longer and better.’ There have been many claims for the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, particularly for its combination of olive oil, garlic, fresh vegetables and fish. And, of course, red wine is supposed to be healthy too, in moderation.
Here in the Languedoc we eat what would be described as a Mediterranean diet, in my case because I love all its constituents and because it is what is available locally. For me, local food is important… so where does this leave those who don’t live in a country where aubergines and wine grapes grow? When I was in Wales earlier this summer I found that most of the tomatoes I ate were completely tasteless and usually unripe. Maybe in countries further north it is better to eat tasty vegetables, varieties which are suited to the climate. Everyone can enjoy olive oil and wine, but then there is the problem of transporting food long distances, with all the environmental damage that can do. I don’t know what the solution is for those who live further away from the Mediterranean, those people must make their own choices, all I know is that one of the great pleasures of my life is the diet that is readily available to me here.
Nardello and Corno di toro peppers from the garden and figs from a friend’s tree by the river near the village, all picked this morning.
Lucques olives on our tree and Cardinale grapes ripening on our vine – the birds have left us a few!
Our lunch today:
Terrine of joue, pig’s cheek, bought from the charcuterie stall in the village market, carrot salad (not very Mediterranean, perhaps, but it seemed to go with the terrine), cherry tomatoes from the garden, rosé wine from the Domaine des Pascales in the village and some of the figs we picked this morning.