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The secret ingredient of the Mediterranean diet.

Tomatoes, aubergines, chillies, figs, anchovies, legumes, pasta … The Mediterranean diet is not – only – a question of food, but of how we eat, how we live and how it is transmitted to the new generations.

The sun makes its way between the leaves of the figs and as I go down to the village a series of “Hello, Miss” from the windows welcomes me; “Did you sleep well?” “Did you see how beautiful the sea is this morning?”. In the castle the voices become more intense, the boys are ready for the day of the awards ceremony, between chatting and laughter, today is their day.

I am in Pollica, the heart of Cilento and cradle of the Mediterranean Diet, which ten years ago was recognized by Unesco as an intangible heritage of humanity. To celebrate this appointment, the Future Food Institute has chosen Pollica for its Food & Climate Shapers Boot Camp – Mediterraneo Edition, a six-day course of lessons and meetings for children on sustainable development models with researchers, entrepreneurs and institutional figures from around the world. food industry supported by Barilla, Google, the Dutch research center Taste, Food for Climate League and the World Fund for Crop Diversity Crop Trust: conferences, but not only, total immersion in the territory and a challenge promoted by Barilla , to change the world recipe after recipe.

At the base, the care for the ecosystem and the territory and in Pollica, the peasant culture, the perhaps a little archaic lifestyle, teaches school. The Mediterranean diet was recognized by Unesco ten years ago, and if obviously it is the result of centuries of culture and habits, it is in the sixties that it was discovered, thanks to the work of the medical researcher Ancel Keys who recognized in the lifestyle of the Cilento people a value to be codified and therefore found the perfect place for his research on nutrition but also the perfect place to live, because as Delia told us, the woman who all her life prepared and served Cilentan dishes at the table, he in front of the bewilderment of some villagers, to the question ‘But what are you doing here in Pioppi?’ he used to reply “I too want to live to be a hundred years old”.

And so it was, the professor passed away in 2004, exactly one hundred years after his birth and after more than forty lived in Cilento. Cilento precious land, guardian of traditions, of biodiversity, famous for its centenarians that meal after meal, among the products of the garden, legumes, eggs, fresh pasta, cheeses made by local cheesemakers, blue fish and, we do not give never taken for granted, the olive oil, they pass on to their children and grandchildren the Mediterranean way of life. Because diet, yes, but not only, in the same word there is a great truth: diet comes from the Greek (diaita), which means lifestyle. So we are not talking about diet, but also good habits. The slowness, which we have all rediscovered during this particular year, and which seems to us so incompatible with our lives, knowing how to live in a community, exchanging products and knowledge, physical activity – in the garden, because there is no Cilentano who does not have his own piece of cultivated land – rest, respect for the land and the seas.

In the book “The straw revolution” Masanobu Fukuoka says that there are those who eat with their stomachs, respecting the sense of hunger, there are those who eat with their brains, influenced by fashions and marketing, in Pollica instead , you learn to eat with the heart.

Source: Sabina Montevergine – Vanityfair.

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