One of the healthiest ways of living in this world of continuous temptation and excess is to adopt a Mediterranean style diet. This diet is one that has been around since Roman times at least and advocates the consumption of lots of vegetables, pulses and wine. It contains much less fat than other western diets and the fats that are consumed in a Mediterranean style diet are more of the ‘good fats’ such as olive oil.
Wine is an integral part of this diet. In these days of binge drinking any kind of alcohol is demonised by people drinking way too much and getting violent form the effects of the drink. In countries such as Spain and Italy drinking is very much part of their culture. Wine is drunk with most meals – usually with water on had too minimise the effects of the alcohol. Wine is seen as an extension of the food. In most regions the grapes are grown locally and the wine is just another product of the region and therefore integral to the people who live there.
We all have our versions of a Mediterranean diet and in fact we have probably all at one time wanted to move to a Mediterranean country where wine and food are enjoyed at a much slower pace when compared to out fast food culture. A Mediterranean diet allows food and wine to be enjoyed and savoured – it is not something that you just eat on the run.
So what is typical of a Mediterranean diet? Salads, fish, olives, bread, and red wine are all the things that come to mind immediately. There are also pasta, potatoes, rice and cheese but these are eaten in much more moderation than one would normally consume in Northern Europe.
The ubiquitous red wine is drunk with food. This means that there is much less of a chance of drunkenness. The food soaks up much of the wine leaving lot less of a chance of drinking too much and also because people tend to sit and chat whilst they eat there is much less chance of over eating or drinking. After all when you are full of food you have much less room for alcoholic drinks.
There are a range of wines that go with this kind of healthy Mediterranean diet. Some of the best known are from Italy. Chianti and Frascati are both popular Italian table wines that are often overlooked now. This is because they are seen to be not as high end as some French wines but they taste great and go well with the food. Of course if you are going for tapas a Spanish red wine is essential you can go for Rioja or something from Navarra. Finally if you are a fan of seafood look out for a vinho verde which is wonderful with all kinds of fish and comes from Portugal.
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Fiona Muller has been writing for over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink writing for the last few years, especially wine for a Mediterranean diet. For a great selection of wines, go to laithwaites.co.uk
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