After a great weekend at the Cypriot Wine Festival, where the long established cultural displays of activities and an array of traditional food and wine were on show in one place, it reminded me of how fantastic the Mediterranean diet can be for us if followed wisely and of course in moderation.
With an abundance of olives and olive oil, a number one as part of our eating – it can be used for cooking, to dress salads, and in our dips, our fresh bread, pitta, koulouri breads with all the sesame seeds, we are truly blessed with the many wholesome natural flavours of goodness bursting with taste. We use Tahini, chickpeas, coriander, cumin, parsley, put a few of those together and that is falafel already. We have so many beautiful spices that we use, to add taste to our traditional dishes.
The traditional pork souvla, or if preferred, chicken, which is cooked on a barbeque grill, is so healthy. Some of us eat meat and some of us don’t, and for those that do not, the Mediterranean diet has many other foods to cater for all, with foods like those of lentils and black eyed beans from which we can create various vegetarian dishes.
For our sweet, we have soutziouko, made from palouze, covering a string of almonds or walnuts and very popular in Cyprus. From date syrups, carob syrups and sweets made with carob like that of carob cream pasteli, pure with no added sugar, it is said it can help stomach problems such as constipation or pain. It is known for aiding proper functioning of the intestines as well as other problems like cold, cough and bronchitis.
There is also another healthy sweet, pasteli sesame and honey bar; similar to that of the oat and honey bar, it is like an ancient version of the modern power bar for that on the go snack. How lucky are we! There is no excuse for adding sugar to everything when we have so much, natural and sweet.
We also have Papafilipou’s new ice cream range which is now not only fat free but also sugar free. It is made using skimmed milk and contains alternative sweeteners like that of Stevia. It comes in different flavours and tastes amazing. Perfect with a serving of fresh fruit salad with lots of melon and exotic fruits!
There is no excuse not to eat healthy with our beautiful cuisine!
To drink, there are the wonderful, exquisite wines made from the grapes of our Mediterranean island. Is it any wonder the wine is easy to the palate, not to mention its beneficial properties of antioxidants and of course, the magic of resveratrol. It is said a glass of wine in the evening can help to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease, lower cholesterol and can boost the immunity system.
Eat, drink and be well!
Love and Sparkles
Photos Alexios Gennaris