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SUMMARY: MODULE TEACHING MATERIALS

A COMMON HERITAGE: MEDITERRANEAN GASTRONOMY FROM SPAIN TO TURKEY

This module is included in the project Turkish Delights, which is part of the European Lifelong Learning Programme and has been carried out by several partners from Turkey, Latvia, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. The main aim is to create a self-learning programme that serves as a basis for future employees and entrepreneurs that start, run or work in a rural tourism company. This programme focuses on the opportunities that this kind of tourism may give to entrepreneurs, students and workers threatened by unemployment. It is noteworthy mentioning that it also contributes to a cultural exchange in the Mediterranean area, since not only cultural heritage of each country has its own features but also many elements in common with other countries and cultures.

The programme is divided into several modules: Rural tourism activities, Hot air balloon ride, Guided tours, Rural tourism in Turkey, Delicious bits and A common heritage: Mediterranean gastronomy from Spain to Turkey, which has been recently presented in Almería (Spain). Moreover, other products have been developed: teaching materials, book, leaflets, a website, social networks and regional and national adaptations.

The module A common heritage: Mediterranean gastronomy from Spain to Turkey was presented in an event held in Spain where other Mediterranean countries also participated. It shows the gastronomic, historic and cultural heritage of the whole Mediterranean area along with the ties between those countries sharing common Mediterranean foods. Not only the similar weather has an influence on similar ingredients and eating habits, but also the cultural exchange for many centuries between all the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, many products from other countries have been introduced. In principle, the visitor tastes dishes that may seem unique but which are indeed a local variation of a basic common concept, such as paella, rice broth and risotto, to name a few examples. In these cases, it is interesting to know if these similarities are the result of a technical change, that is to say, if the same ingredients are used in a comparable way simply because their own features make it necessary to do so, or if they are the consequence of a cultural exchange. For example, there are similar dishes in the South of Spain and Italy that date back from the time when Spain dominated the Kingdom of Naples.

This material may be useful to comprehend the origin and the ties between regional dishes and the Mediterranean context, create new fusion dishes and interpret each gastronomy to foreign tourists.

The module consists of an introduction, eight sections, a case study, a recipe book and bibliography. It is complemented by a set of tasks and activities that can be done during the course or in a specific workshop. Each section takes about 90 to 120 minutes, including study, reading and learning time and the exercises.

It begins defining the Mediterranean diet and some other concepts, as well as explaining that it has been inscribed in the Intangible Cultural Heritage List and its artistic, religious, literary, technological and historic connotations.

Next, it develops the history of the Mediterranean gastronomy: the historic exchanges and influences that have make the common Mediterranean elements arise. It also illustrates the fusion of the Jewish, Arabic and Christian cultures from the ancient times to the fall of the Roman empire, as well as the Middle and the Modern Ages. Furthermore, it analyses the current Spanish cuisine, which has developed incredibly in the recent past years, the Italian and Turkish cuisine, which is considered one of the most relevant worldwide. Among the different Mediterranean diets, the Greek and Moroccan diets are the most recommendable.

The chapter Mediterranean ingredients analyses the basic products and introduces those that are typical of the Mediterranean diet but also of each country.

The most important common products are the following:

Olive oil is emblematic of the traditional Mediterranean gastronomy. The history of the plant and how it extended all over the Mediterranean area, how it is used for culinary, religious or industrial purposes, the current situation, the production methods and its impact on the quality of the final product are analysed in this section. Other oils such as sunflower oil are also commented.

Wine is another key product in the Mediterranean countries. Many studies have revealed that it is healthy as long as it is consumed in moderation. Other relevant ingredients include meat, fish, cereals, legumes, flour and pasta, usually used in cold dishes and salads, fruit and vegetables, rice, dairy products and nuts, like almonds, spices and aromas.

The common Mediterranean beverages include typical drinks of each Mediterranean country. For a long time now it has been proved that consuming fermented drinks in moderation such as beer and wine prevents from heart diseases. These drinks can bring many benefits to healthy adults’ diet, provided that they do not do activities which are incompatible with alcohol consumption. Some alcoholic beverages are analysed in this chapter. For instance, wine may be served as a drink along with a delicious dish or it may be used to cook traditional dishes which have meat or fish as the main ingredient. In this last case, red wine and white wine are used respectively. This section also emphasises the situation of the current Mediterranean wine, since three Mediterranean countries lead the world production: France, Italy and Spain. 

Beer is one of the most popular beverages. In spite of the fact that it comes from the North of Europe, it can be considered a Mediterranean drink. There are many types of beer whose features and temperature have been adapted to local preferences. In the same way as wine, beer provides taste and is an essential ingredient in many dishes. In Spain, the appetizer time cannot be conceived without a caña –a small draft beer (0.20 l), which is usually served along with a tapa. In fact, beer has replaced wine and other traditional drinks as aperitifs.

Other distilled liqueurs based on fruit fermentation like anise or cereal liqueurs, along with non-alcoholic drinks such as water, coffee, tea and juices, are also described.

 

                        The following chapter is Food properties and cooking techniques. In this one, the properties of those foods that belong to the Mediterranean diet and the common and individual cooking techniques in the Mediterranean cuisine are commented.

 

The Mediterranean diet is mainly vegetarian. In fact, it differs from the American and northern Europe diets because it is much lower in meat and dairy products. The typical US pie is hardly known in the Mediterranean countries, whereas different cakes are baked in special times like Christmas or Easter and fruit is served as a dessert. Still there are some variations. In Italy, for instance, there are social differences between the rich and the poor, therefore meat and dairy products are more popular in the North. Diets are also influenced by religion. As an example, the Muslims must not eat pork nor drink wine or other alcoholic beverages, while the Greek Orthodox population must not eat meat on Wednesdays and Fridays. It also analyses the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for health: it is heart-healthy, anticancer and antioxidant.

The common cooking techniques make possible that alike dishes are prepared all over the Mediterranean area. These dishes include migas and other equivalent dishes, ajoblanco, rice pudding, gachas, torrijas, risotto, paella, tabulé, dolma, kebab or pinchos.                                                                                      

                        It is especially worth mentioning the chapter about culinary traditions and culture, for the Mediterranean gastronomy is much more than a set of ingredients and cooking techniques. it also reveals the influence that religion and weather have on dishes and habits.

This chapter also illustrates the most outstanding traditions of the Mediterranean countries. There are several similarities between them and many intrinsic features that are the result of a number of influences: the conquest of ancient civilizations, the trade all over the Mediterranean Sea and finally the impact of religions in this area. This has contributed to a culinary heritage that is worthy knowing. In regard of rural tourism, the main traditions are explained in different sections: mealtimes, celebrations, desserts, beverages and historic periods.

Some of these traditions include those that are a result of the influence of Christianity or Judaism and some examples such as Holy Week or Ramadan. Mealtimes and season habits are also illustrated, as well as some traditional pastries and the national dishes of each Mediterranean country. Also the regional variations of Spain and Italy’s dishes are explained in detail.

An entire chapter about markets is also included to know who may be interested in the national and international Mediterranean gastronomy markets and why. The location and origin of these potential customers are described as well as the reasons why they may want to get involved. Moreover, their expectations and demands and the physic, cultural, interpersonal and status motives are also analysed, along with the more demanding countries and the products that are more consumed.

 

The last chapter deals with the interpretation and promotion of local dishes. It introduces potential options to make dishes more attractive for a foreign visitor and it analyses the tangible factors, including health, taste or respect for the environment. It explains the importance of dish presentation and interpretation techniques and investigates the added intangible value. This is clarified in the section called From the mere ingredients to the cuisine experience. Cuisine is one of the basic economic pillars of the Mediterranean countries. It includes a variety of foods that are produced there along with the way of interpreting, cooking and presenting them to customers. It means the fusion of the Mediterranean art, culture and values as well as the experience in cooking and showing these products over the centuries. However, it is necessary to develop an excellent global marketing strategy so that the cuisine can be successful and effectively promoted among customers. The objective is also to make the difference and that they want to taste the dishes. Therefore, it is needed to define the 8 marketing Ps. Firstly, what it is offered: Product, Price, Place and Promotion, this is, advertising. Secondly, it is necessary to decide the way it is going to be offered, including People, Process, Productivity and Physical evidence. In a few words, it should be taken into account these eight Ps from the integrate perspective of the services offered. The influence of each one will define the quality of the global service that the client is provided with. That way it will be possible to offer them the food experience that they want to enjoy.  

Finally, a case study and a recipe book are included. The case study consists of a summary and an example of the workshop that was held the 9th October 2013, where several dishes and the corresponding culture were presented and analysed. The recipe book includes a number of dishes from four different countries, such as rice, meat, fish, appetizers or pastries, to name a few.

 

Authors of the teaching contents (in alphabetical order of surnames): 

Manuel Abad Gómez;  Ángeles Barrios Láinez; Miguel Díaz Fernández; Klaus Ehrlich; Carmina Fandos Herrera; Ana Galera Simón; José Luis López Molina; Antero José López Ocaña; Antonio Mateu Sánchez; Antonia Morales González; María José Ortiz Grau; José Vique Rodríguez.

 

Translators: Ángeles Barrios Lainez; Ana Isabel Martínez Quiñonero; Lucía Molina Martínez