On 17th November 2010, the Mediterranean Diet was inscribed on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. The Mediterranean gastronomy and products form a dietary pattern based on olive oil, cereals, fruits and nuts, vegetables, animal products (fish, meat and dairy products) in moderate quantities, a variety of herbs and spices, accompanied by wine or eau-de-vie, always respecting traditions and beliefs of local communities.
Nevertheless, Mediterranean Diet is more a way of living goes than a simple dietary pattern. This is also endorsed by UNESCO’s definition of nutrition as a « set of skills, knowledge, practices and traditions, ranging from the landscape to the table».
Traditional Mediterranean gastronomy and products, including their cultivation and production methods, promote social connection and communication, while common meals have always been part of our customs and celebrations. The Mediterranean diet is a source of beliefs, songs, proverbs, stories and legends. In short, it is a true lifestyle rooted in the landscapes and traditional foodstuff.
Nowadays, however, consumption of premade and processed foods rich in salt and fat is constantly rising, leading to high rates of obesity and cardiovascular diseases and threatening traditional Mediterranean products and century-old gastronomic habits.
The Cultural Foundation “Routes of the Olive Tree”, striving to preserve traditions and promote Euro-Mediterranean identity, has prioritized activities aiming at reversing this negative trend of unhealthy eating.