Today we’re going to take you on a journey along the Mediterranean coast to exhibit some of the finest foods that this beautiful part of the world that’s so deeply steeped in history has to offer. The Mediterranean coast lies north of the Mediterranean Sea, and it’s here that some of the world’s most influential civilizations originated from, including the Greeks and Romans! It’s therefore not surprising that this region is home to some of the finest cuisines on the planet that are not only full of flavor but also give the people of the region some of the healthiest diets there are!
Portugal – Piri Piri Chicken
Portugal may not technically count as a Mediterranean country as it’s not actually got a Mediterranean coast, but we thought Piri Piri is too good to miss! Piri Piri chicken is a spicy marinated chicken dish that’s heavily influenced by Portugal’s colonial past. The marinade is based on the piri piri pepper, which although originating from the Caribbean, was cultivated in Portuguese West Africa. The Portuguese quickly became huge fans of the intense spice and tang of the marinade which is claimed to enhance mood and be rich in vitamins. It’s often grilled on coals to add a distinct smoky flavor that compliments the tangy, spicy sauce!
Spain – Paella
If you don’t know what Paella is than you’re missing out BIG TIME!
This indulgent all-in-one dish is the quintessential Spanish party food. The classic paella includes chicken, seafood such as shrimp and mussels, and sometimes chorizo sausage which is cooked on high heat with paella rice and stock in a huge (sometimes 7 foot across!) shallow pan. The dish tells us a lot about Spain’s past as it includes both rice and lemon which were brought to the country by the Moors of North Africa in 711 AD. Paella is high in protein, healthy carbohydrates, and plenty of vitamins from the various vegetables such as bell pepper – it, therefore, hits all the right spots!
France – Socca
There’s no doubt that France boasts one of the best cuisines in the world so it’s difficult to choose one for this list! We’ve gone with socca as it is native to Nice on the Mediterranean coast. Socca is a special type of French crepe that’s made using chickpeas. It’s often served with other foods added on top, such as salad, eggs, or even baked in a pizza-style with rich tomato sauce and soft French cheese! This classic food is the perfect healthy alternative to traditional fast foods and is often eaten in markets or outdoor eateries.
Italy – Melanzane Parmigiana
Italy is a mecca for food lovers so naturally, we’d love to add all the Italian dishes to this list! But as we can only add one, we’ve gone with Melanzane Parmigiana – a traditional tomato and eggplant bake that’s native to the coastal region of Campania in the south of the country. The dish uses rich tomatoes, plenty of garlic, herbs such as sage and thyme, pine nuts, and plenty of parmesan and mozzarella cheese to create a rich, indulgent, and very satisfying all-in-one meal that’s become popular around the world. Although the dish’s main ingredients – tomatoes and eggplant, are considered Italian staples, they actually originate from South America and were brought to the region in around 1550 AD!
Greece – Xtapodi
Greece is known for being the home of one of the most advanced ancient civilizations, and as a result, the traditional cuisine is also considered to be one of the best there is! A Greek favorite is an octopus, which literally comes from the Mediterranean! A classic Greek dish is Xtapodi, which brings together the tender, delicate flavors of octopus and classic Greek flavors such as garlic, parsley, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and honey. The octopus is cooked with these as well as tomatoes and onions in a terracotta pot, resulting in a dish that bridges the flavors of land and sea and reaches back for millennia!
If the idea of hot and spicy Portuguese chicken, Italian eggplant bake, or even fresh Greek octopus makes you feel like your taste buds need a bit of Mediterranean sun, there are simpler ways than jumping on the next flight to the Algarve! Here at NetCost Market, we stock meat, seafood, vegetables, and other products that would make any Spanish, Italian, or Greek master chef jealous of their quality! So, why not head down to our store today and see the quality for yourself and then get creative by cooking yourself a Mediterranean feast?!