The countries of the Mediterranean basin have a rich variety of food products that are deeply rooted in the cultures and local biodiversity of the region, and representative of the famously-healthy Mediterranean diet.
The lands around the Mediterranean share common problems and challenges in their food systems too, from the gradual loss of local varieties, rural poverty, particularly among women, limited investment capacity in rural entrepreneurship and the lack of training on socio-environmental sustainability, business planning and marketing strategies.
A journey between Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Spain, Malta and Tunisia with the MedSnail project
Terra Madre proposes a journey that covers the Mediterranean from east to west, in search of recipes of techniques. All this has been made possible by the MedSNAIL project, which aims to confront these problems by promoting the development of traditional, small-scale food systems, combining their market potential and their socio-environmental sustainability.
In our How It’s Made videos you can learn traditional preparation techniques and how to cook delicious local dishes made by in these communities:
- From Lebanon we have artisanal apple molasses, a great alternative to industrially-refined sugars, as well as a form of sustenance for local people.
- In Tunisia we take a small journey to the islands of Kerkennah, a hotspot for biodiversity and traditional production practices. Maybe because of their privileged climatic position, the Kerkennah islands deliver products with a unique aromatic profile and quality. Among these, there are the olves used to produce oil, and baked goods.
- With Palestinian women we learn how to cook olive oil biscuits, which are mainstay of the olive harvest season and the winter period, as well as ja’deh, a nutritious and healthy dish cooked with all the products of one’s vegetable garden.
- • The traditions of rural Jordan give us qors al-nar, or “fire bread”, made with wholewheat flour and cooked patiently on coal ashes, and samneh, a local form of ghee, whose production we follow from milking the goats all the way to the plate.
- Meanwhile in Spain, we taste the meringues of Laujar de Andarax, called soplillos, the best-known sweet of the town and the entire region of Alpujarra, in the south of Spain. As with the majority of Andalusian gastronomic traditions, these meringues are the result of centuries of fusion of the Iberian, Roman, Arab and Gitano cultures.
The Mediterranean beyond MedSNAIL
Beyond the MedSNAIL project the Mediterranean is at the center of many other meetings in the Terra Madre program, many of them available to watch again, some that you’re still in time to sign up for.
- The Towards a fair and sustainable food system for the Mediterranean shows a new project that aims to reduce the distance between producers and consumers, as welll as inform both groups of the implications of their choices in both fields for the future of the planet.
- In the forum From the Mediterranean diet to natural food we saw how researchers and scientists across the world agree on the nutritional value of the Mediterranean diet. But we’ve also asked how we can carry this concept forward, and expand its scope.
- Through the Terra Madre Olive meetings we saw an immense olive grove that extends over millions of hectares, representing one of the distinctive characteristics of the Mediterranean agrarian landscape for centuries. The credit for this extraordinary spread of olive culture goes to the tireless work of generations of farmers, the guardians of the olive trees.
- A forum dedicated to Model forests of the Mediterranean network introduced us to 60 organizations from across the world, in particular to mountains around the Mediterranean: the Alps, the Apennines, the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and more.
Get to know the products and their producers!
To conclude, we present some articles and videos made to give us a better understanding of individual producers and their work!