Sunday, May 6, 2012

Magnificent Feast of The Mediterranean

costa de soul
 
Executive summary by Darmansjah
Mediterranean region or in the middle of the ocean between southern Europe and northern Africa are the areas with warm weather and climatic throughout the year. The weather, as well as its location bordering the sea inspires culinary spectacular. Cinthya Sopaheluwakan tells the story of a culinary tradition in Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal.

In contrast to the cold climate country that many food processing to pickled foods Mediterranean region has a simple character, giving priority to food that is fresh and simple cooking process. In general, foods of the Mediterranean region is also considered to be healthy and nutritious. Basic ingredients can always be found in the environment with an unlimited choice, so cooking with various combinations of base materials is possible. Makes food taste varied Mediterranean has a wealth of stunning.
olives fruit

But the weather and location, many other things that affect this nation how cultivate and appreciate their food. Close to d history of colonization, as well as interaction with various countries around who have the culture of each food affects the Mediterranean countries this. Locations close to each other also makes a lot dishes in one country can be easily found in other countries with different variants and names. It is difficult to define and culinary compartment a State, let alone several countries. But each state also has a unique culinary character, ranging from Greece in the east to Portugal in the west of the Mediterranean.

Greek Food of the Gods
Greece, as well as Indonesia is a country of islands, with 1400 islands. Culinary traditions of mythology, the gods of State has been going on for thousands of years even according to the historians, the world's first recipe book written by the Greeks in the 3rd century BC. Greece emphasizes the use of meat compared to other Mediterranean countries. All things revolve around meat goat and sheep meat are cooked over the fire or grill. In addition, meals rich in olive, either in the form of fruit or oil (olive oil). Olive plantations numerous in this country and olive oil are used in almost all foods. Usefulness to the health of it no doubt. In addition, eggplant, zucchini, yogurt and cheese are the other major component in their diet.
row of the table in little venice restaurant, Mykonos island, Greece

Walking around the city of Athens, among the historic ruins, one can enjoy traditional snacks shaped pastry flour-based fried phyllo pastry. contents vary, but typical is spinach (spanakopita) and cheese (tiropita). Phyllo pastry is too sweet and the surrounding area is typical of Greek baklava, contains nuts and honey is a hallmark of the Greek dessert. Baklava is usually a snack that is right for Greek coffee is black, thick and bitter. Other foods that are sold are moussaka, souvlaki and gyros. Moussaka always remind people of the lasagna, but the Greeks themselves do not like for this comparison. Layers of eggplant coated goat meat, onion, and Bechamel sauce, then baked. Souvlaki is meat, usually lamb, who was stabbed in the form of kebabs with vegetables and baked over the fire. Gyros, sometimes also known as doner kebab, is a pile of roasted meat that rotate over the fire, so the flavors and juices of meat absorbed some of the layers, then sliced ​​and served with tzatziki sauce as fresh.

When we visited the Greek restaurant, one that often was on the menu is a wide selection of mezes. Mezes is similar  with the concept of Spanish tapas , where several types of small-sized meals are served and eaten by rollicking. The foods are diverse, ranging from seafood, meat, chicken, until the vegetables. Baked shrimp and tomato-based sauce and cheese, fish eggs, pink (taramasalata), eggplant and zucchini grilled and given olive oil and lime juice, roasted goat; choices are endless and is a pleasure for eyes and stomach. There are also snacks of rice that is cooked until the rice in grape leaves called Dolma. Dolma basically means stuffed vegetable, but wrapped in leaf is the most famous wine. Usually presented as a complement or a snack in the cold. It was tasty, fresh, slightly acidic. These foods flavored with spices typical of the Greek kitchen include mint, Greek oregano and dill. Besides, Greece is also famous for its variant of the salad. Greek salad containing red onion, olives, cucumber, tomato and a typical complement the feta cheese. Feta cheese made from sheep's milk, or sometimes a combination between sheep and goat's milk dairy. Caucasian colored and textured solid, savory taste salty. As champagne wine and meat prosciutto, cheese production only certain areas in Greece are protected and entitled to use name 'feta'.

Italian Cuisine a Warm and Soothing
Italian food is rich in character regional variations. The Italians would appoint the city of Milan as the place of the most delicious risotto, the city of Naples as the pizza center, the city of Florence as a place of steak. Outside those cities, they will admit that food is not the same as the original town. Variety of spices such as basil, thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary and parsley also enrich Italian food. Basil leaves, for example, be used in addition to the above pizza, too contrived typical of Genoa pesto seasoning with olive oil, parmesan cheese and garlic. The tradition of eating in Italy is also unique, by starting with the antipasto (hot appertizer or cold), primi (warm foods such as pasta, risotto, Gnocchi and so on), secondi (as main meals of meat or fish), contorno (complementary foods such as salad) and closed with formago e frutta (cheese and fruit), dolce (sweet desert) and caffe. Italian food is directly unthinkable in our minds of course pizza and pasta. The history of pizza and a variety of confusing. Base your own bread can actually be found in several other neagara with names such as pita or pide with a tradition that has lasted for hundreds of years. Modern pizza appeared in Naples, known as neaplitana pizza, topped with a tomato primary. Just a few years later the cheese is used. Margherita pizza and toppings made ​​with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil leaves and also inspired from the Italian flag colors. Now the pizza is global and many different versions: thick, thin, deep-fried, with a variety of flavors.

moussaka, greek cuisine

Speaking of pasta also is endless. There are hundreds of pasta shapes: long, short, oval, small, and in the form of ribbons, snails, ears, pipe, rounds, sheets, wheels, leaf, and so on. There is also shaped bag with the contents of the ravioli and tortellini. But food sources other than carbohydrates are also many kinds of pasta, one of which is the Gnocchi. Among others, the dough is made from semolina flour, potatoes, eggs in the form of small clumps, Gnocchi and then boiled and served with sauce or can be baked in the oven au gratin. Gnocchi are generally found in Northern Italy.

Italy does have a tremendous variety of food. Each city or county has its own distinctive foods that must to be sampled. The city of Rome for example, has an unexpected specialties made ​​from tripe. The name of this food is a la romana trippa. Unlike the tripe that we know, a la romana trippa cooked with tomato sauce and served with grated cheese. City of Florence has a steak-style bistecca Fiorentine their pride. Steak is made from the T-bone and are usually large in size up to 2 people can eat. Seasoned only with olive oil, salt and sometimes pepper, roasted over coal, and served with Tuscan beans complementary foods and lemon slices. Special meat from Chianina cattle are bred in the area near the town of Arezzo.

Risotto is also wrong or typical Italian rice-based foods. Made from a special type of rice that looks arboiro shorter and oval than pandan rice, rice has the ability to absorb this type of water is higher, so the texture is more creamy risotto rice than we know. The water used to cook these foods are the broth and the results sometimes makes people think that risotto cooked with cream. One of the most famous risotto alla Milanese risotto is derived from the city of Milan in northern Italy. What makes this risotto typical is the use of saffron flower buds of yellow in it so the color and aroma and distinctive taste. Eat delicious little known outside Italy is polenta. Polenta is cornmeal finely textured grains yellow. Cooked with water or broth, plus a variety of cheese, butter, mushrooms, or fish. Traditional polenta takes more than an hour, sometimes even three hours, to cook it.


gelateria in italy

Of course not complete without discussing discussing Italian gelato-like ice cream. Made from the same material with the ice cream milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings such as fruit, nuts, chocolate or coffee. But the difference with the ice cream is the level of butterfat in gelato. Gelato has a butterfat content of between 4-8% while the ice cream 14%. But gelato has a higher sugar content than ice cream. There are also types that do not use milk gelato, and gelato is basically a type of fruit sorbet.



French-Pride of Local Tradition
In general, France is rarely considered Mediterranean countries, but the south of France adjacent to the middle of the ocean and has a distinctive hallmark that distinguishes it from the north. The south of France, among others, the province of Provence with the city of Marseille as its main cities and regions Cote d'Azur with the city of Nice. This area is rich in vegetables, fruits, spices and citrus orange products  typical form. Lavender flower that grows in this area is also used in culinary them. But the main character in their diet is tomato, garlic and olive oil. Characteristic of southern France are the main food is the pride of the use of local products and an emphasis on the reduction of time in processing seafood, poultry, veal and vegetables to maintain its original flavor. Excessive cooking process deemed unnecessary.
row of the board that describes the type and price of cooking in a local market in southern france
Marseille have some special food like bouillabaisse and aioli sauce typical bleak and rouille. Seafood bouillabaisse is a soup made from a variety of fish and shellfish and vegetables. This soup is a meal that was originally cooked by the fishermen after fishing using fish behavior deemed not to be sold. According to tradition there are three kinds of fish are important as a base for bouillabaisse. This soup is then flavored with various seasonings such as garlic, bay leaf, pistil saffron and grated orange peel and served along with bread and rouille marette. Bouillabaisse flavors ranging from the delicious taste of sea and fresh vegetables make a filling main meals as well as complete nutrition. Rouille, complementary bouillabaisse, is a sauce made from olive oil and garlic. Aioli little like rouille, the difference this sauce contains eggs from mayonnaise and Dijon mustard sometimes, Aioli eaten as a complement to vegetables such as asparagus or other fish dishes.
open air fish market in nice
Nice city on the shores of the Cote d'Azzur have components such as garlic, olives, anchovies (a type of salted fish), tomatoes and French beans in their food base. This component appears in foods such as salad Nicoise. Apart from anchovies, tuna salad is also often used in it. As with bouillabaisse, salad Nicoise give a fresh taste sensation.

olives fruit are sold in a traditional market in southern france

Famous cartoon movie Ratatouille about the rat who is good cooking takes its name from Provence other specialties. Ratatouille was originally the food of the village and many use the vegetables that grow in the vicinity. Its main ingredients are vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions and then fitted with garlic and herbs de provence. Herb de provence seasoning is combination of thyme, rosemary, marjoram, bay leaf, and basil, fennel, and tarragon. Ratatouille is generally eaten as a food supplement main meals such as chicken, meat or fish.



Spanish-flavor the Brave
State bullfighter is known as the paella rice-based foods originating from the Valencia region. Paella is now famous seafood paella. Antiquity as paella was created as food workers, seafood price is quite expensive so they used chickens, rabbits, ducks, and even snails. Later many other food items to be included such as various types of lentils and beans, tomatoes, rosemary, sweet peppers, and artichokes. Paella is cooked in a special dish made of iron that is paellera. Another peculiarity key paella is saffron flower buds that give a distinctive aroma. Original paella cooked in a long time at paellera great, and if cooked properly can last up to several days. Any type of rice for paella rice but not just any kind calsparra oval shaped and thin. Rice was brought to Spain by the Moors who are the descendants of Arabs. In the southern Spanish region, the influence of the Moors was very pronounced in the culinary when compared with other regions. Examples of foods containing lamb, mint leaves, and the kind of special seasoning called race el hanout.

Besides the paella, a typical Spanish food that generally exist in a variety of bars and cafes ranging from Madrid to Malaga is tapas. Served in small plates, tapas can be pieces of meat (pork) smoke, olives, marinated peppers or vinegar and given a cheese, seasoned squid, or pieces of cheese. The Spaniards also likes to eat gazpacho, which is a unique a similar soup can be served cold. Made from vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers and comes with a piece of bread, gazpacho was originally derived from city of Seville in southern Spain and a typical summer foods. Churros, Spanish donuts also called the long form though, is a fried flour that is eaten at breakfast with café con Leche or hot chocolate. Uniquely, churros is supposedly a local version of the explorer cakwe consumed Europe today go to China several centuries ago.

Spanish explorers who explore the continent of South America and then bring the food from the new continent to the plains of Europe. It is said that a Spanish chef can not live without potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers. He then brought the food ingredients from South America to Europe.
Spain may not directly state that in mind when we think of culinary west, but the prestige of Spain among the foodie world no doubt. Spanish culinary taste is more firm and courageous, as well as the courage of the matador while appearing to deal with a bull. In fact, during recent years, the holder of the title of The Best Restaurant in the World is El Bulli, the restaurant in the city of Girona near Barcelona.



Portugal-The Culinary Explorers
Unlike the character of French culinary pride in their local Friend's email, culinary Portugal reflect the nature and results of their explorations in history. Although the flavor is not as strong as Spanish cuisine, the use of herbs and spices are much more varied diet. Portugal's culinary uniqueness lies in the influence of former colonial countries they are used in marinades, such as Piri-Piri spice that contains a small African cayenne, black pepper, cinnamon and vanilla. All material was originally contained in the countries in the former Portuguese colony Afirca, such as Mozambique, Angola and Cape Verde. In contrast, Portugal also bring food and lots of them to the State colony. For example the main food in Brazil, feijoada, is actually brought by the Portuguese. Bordering the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, Portugal has a rich culinary tradition with fish. One of these is bacalhau. Bacalhau is the Portuguese term for fish that are dried and salted cod. Bacalhau is the only fish that are not eaten in a fresh condition. Pickling is done since a few centuries ago as a way of the fishermen to bring the fish from the north Atlantic to Spain and Portugal. The unique tradition of dry cod fish is also found in Norway. It is said there are 365 ways to cook bacalhau, one dish for every day of the year. Bacalhau most often served with boiled potatoes. The most famous in the whole Portugal is bacalhau a Gomes de Sa, with bacalhau, potatoes, onions, and sometimes boiled eggs and olives. Gomes de Sa was the son of a wealthy merchant who later fall into poverty and forced to work in a restaurant in Porto, where he later created the recipe. Bacalhau is also made into a roadside hawker, the pasties de bacalhau pliers are made from potatoes, eggs, parsley, then deep fried. Sardine fish which we used to eat from cans in consumption in fresh condition by the Purtugal. Other foods that contain fish is arroz con tamboril, which if translated into rice with monkfish fish species.


Portuguese women drying fish in Nazare beach

Restaurants in Portugal, as well as in surrounding countries, always provide a bottle of vinegar (Acto) and olive oil (olio). Both of these combinations is a salad dressing. In some restaurants before the main meal was served, sometimes offered bread and local cheese. Although Portugal is not the State, known as the paradise of cheese, but the word cheese in the Indonesian language vocabulary adapted from Portugal vocabulary is queijo. Portugal also has a unique cake that is pastel de Belem or pastel de nata. This cake is made ​​from egg yolks and sugar and eaten with a sprinkling of cinnamon. It is said that this cake was made by nuns at the convent Jeronimos before the 18th century.



Malta
Tip of Italy there is an archipelagic small State named Malta, right in the middle of the sea. Effect of food not only from neighboring countries but also from the UK has ever colonial. Until now Malta is a member of British Commonwealth countries. What is unique from this small country is a culinary meals namely domestic rabbit meat. Tradition for eating rabbit meat is called fenkata. Initially rabbit meat is a national  food is in protest of the prohibition to eat meat rabbits that formerly applied by the Knights of St. John who ruled Malta. Rabbit meat itself is cooked in wine and garlic, and eaten with bread and potatoes.


valetta, malta

Andorra
Between France and Spain, the Pyrenees mountains in the back, there is a small country called Andorra. Its location in the mountains and not directly adjacent to the sea makes the meat-dominated diet. The country is a blend of culinary neighboring countries, especially in the Catalan province of northern and western Spain. Foods that are often found is that is a mixture trinxat cabbage, potatoes and sausage-shaped cake. Other typical foods are Xai, which is roasted goat meat.


views of old chapel in andorra, Pyrenees

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