The Mediterranean diet is both a real philosophy of life and a good way to feed oneself. It thus combines certain ingredients with the climate, traditions, and cultures of Mediterranean countries. Olive oil, pasta, fruit, vegetables, fish, white and red meat, legumes, and wine are the basis of the Mediterranean diet. The word “diet” come from the Greek “diaita” that means “way of living”. It is thus a correct discipline that goes well with a healthy lifestyle. Since 1960’s, scientific research has proved that Mediterranean people enjoy better health conditions than people from Northern Europe. This is due to the use of olive oil, fish, pasta, fruit, and vegetables.
Italy is undoubtedly the home of the Mediterranean diet. It is one of the major consumers of olive oil and pasta in the world. Moreover every region can boast different types of pasta produced locally, and olive oil is produced throughout the country – northern Italy is excluded though.
Liguria produces extra virgin olive oil that bears the certification of “origine protetta” (i.e., protected origin) and is characterised by precise qualities according to its production areas.
Western Liguria produces some oenogastronomic products that can represent the Mediterranean diet at its best. Extra virgin olive oil that is produced in Western Liguria is characterised by a sweet flavour; a fruity aroma with hints of almond and apple; and a low acidity – it is thus easily digestible. The green gold of Western Liguria is extracted from the Taggiasca olives that are small, dark, and tasty. Their cultivation was introduced into Liguria by the Benedictine monks some centuries ago.
Here are some recipes of Western Liguria: stuffed vegetables, salads (e.g. the Cundiùn), and home-made pasta (e.g., ravioli and trofie) with pesto sauce. Pesto is a tasty sauce made up of basil, pine-kernels, grated cheese, and olive oil. Moving to main courses, you can find “rabbit with Vermentino”, “dried cod brand de cujun”, “torta verde” (rice and vegetables cooked in a thin sheet of pastry), or pizzas – such as the famous “Sardenaira” with tomatoes, anchovies, Taggiasca olives, and extra virgin olive oil.
These dishes are strictly based on ingredients that belong to the Mediterranean diet and are also typical products of Liguria.