The Mediterranean diet involves a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking, and particularly the sharing and consumption of food. Eating together is the foundation of the cultural identity and continuity of communities throughout the Mediterranean basin. It is a moment of social exchange and communication, an affirmation and renewal of family, group or community identity. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes values of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity, and a way of life guided by respect for diversity. It plays a vital role in cultural spaces, festivals and celebrations, bringing together people of all ages, conditions and social classes. It includes the craftsmanship and production of traditional receptacles for the transport, preservation and consumption of food, including ceramic plates and glasses. Women play an important role in transmitting knowledge of the Mediterranean diet: they safeguard its techniques, respect seasonal rhythms and festive events, and transmit the values of the element to new generations. Markets also play a key role as spaces for cultivating and transmitting the Mediterranean diet during the daily practice of exchange, agreement and mutual respect.
Transmitted from generation to generation, particularly through families, the Mediterranean diet provides a sense of belonging and sharing and constitutes for those who live in the Mediterranean basin a marker of identity and a space for sharing and dialogue.
Inscription of the element on the Representative List could contribute to raising awareness of the significance of healthy and sustainable food related practices in other parts of the world, while encouraging intercultural dialogue, testifying to creativity and promoting respect for cultural, environmental and biological diversity.
Inscribed in 2013 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Country(ies): Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Portugal