An Italian Fiesta: Celebrating the Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

“Food, especially good food, brings people together. The Mediterranean diet and Italian tradition include the notion of eating together and spending quality time with family and friends,” said the ambassador. “And that’s also what we did at this event, bringing together people from various international, local and business communities.”

And as a result, the residence has become a vibrant and lively place, with laughs, cheers and friends catching up, the lawn housing a number of stalls where the cooks (mostly people from the Italian community in Bangladesh) , prepared and presented to the guests delicacies of the country – from pizza and risotto with gnocchi (often called Italian dumplings) and cotolette di melanzane (eggplant chops) and bagna cauda (a dip often served with vegetables).

At the heart of it all is of course the Mediterranean diet, recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as well as the art of Neapolitan “Pizzaiuolo”, the traditional culinary art of preparation and cooking. paste.

Béatrice Kaldun, head of the office and UNESCO representative in Bangladesh, was also present at this event and referred to these legacies in her speech.

The Daily Star was one of the media partners for the event. The Mediterranean diet promotes healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. It’s a bigger concept than people sometimes think. It is a heritage made up of various skills, rituals, traditions, etc. related not only to the production and cooking of food, but also to the sharing and consumption of food. As for the choice of foods, it places a lot of emphasis on foods like fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, fish, and olive oil. The consumption of dairy products and meat is also present, but in relatively smaller proportions. Therefore, the Mediterranean diet is often regarded as a healthy diet and lifestyle, nourishing not only the body with nutritious food, but also the mind, with the concept of eating together and strengthening community and family bonds.

This year, the theme of the World Italian Food Week was “Italian Food Tradition and Perspectives: Awareness and Enhancement of Food Sustainability”. The theme includes, among others, a wide range of issues related to biodiversity, dietary diversity, biosphere reserves and sustainable agricultural practices.

The Week also raised awareness of the Nutri-Score labeling system on food packaging, which categorizes food products on a five-color scale based on their calculated nutritional scores. It has been argued that this system can provide a vague and distorted picture of many Mediterranean foods that are generally considered very healthy.

“Extra virgin olive oil, which has many health benefits, has been found to be rather unhealthy (due to its fat content),” said Ambassador Enrico Nunziata. “Now of course if you use it to fry in large quantities every day, that’s bad. It really depends on how you use it and how much you consume, but a direct negative label doesn’t. not take all of this into account and can negatively influence consumers in their purchases. “

Whether it’s issues like food sustainability and biodiversity, or the aforementioned food labeling debate, or the protection of intangible cultural heritages, World Italian Food Week has addressed them all.

And the food feast at the Ambassador’s Residence had been a way to move those conversations forward, in the most delicious and charming way, with the help of delicious food and celebrations of the Mediterranean diet and the Italian food.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

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