Mediterranean SeaThe Mediterranean Sea is a deep blue jewel, surrounded by 21 countries. From Southern Europe, to Northern Africa, and the Middle East, Mediterranean Cuisine is vibrant and nourishing. Seafood, olive oil, wheat, and the vine are well represented. Everything from herbs and rice, to lamb, nuts, and fruit can be found rolled in a leaf, or fresh pastry. Herbs like rosemary, mint, and dill are also prominent.

The “Mediterranean Diet” is rich in natural anti-oxidants from fruits and vegetables as well as omega-3 fat. According to MayoClinic.com, research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, a recent analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes:

– Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts

– Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil

– Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods

– Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month

– Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week

– Eggs are rarely included in Mediterranean meals

– Drinking red wine in moderation

The diet also recognizes the importance of enjoying meals with family and friends, which is just another reason we love a Mediterranean Menu! So this week, I teamed up with Erin Coopey, chef, cooking instructor, and author of The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook  to bring you an inspired Mediterranean Menu Dinner Party theme that takes you and your friends on a culinary tour of Mediterranean Cuisine. You’ll discover how to wrap and roll your way through 5 countries, and 7 dishes. See how we get our friends involved in the preparation of Mediterranean Inspired seafood, rolled grape leaves, lamb stuffed cabbage leaves, date and walnut wrapped phyllo dougn and more! You’ll also find all the pantry items from our Mediterranean Menu at ChefShop.com. Order before April 30, 2013 and receive 8% off your first order!

Cheers! Holly