Who needs to go on holiday to have the great taste of the Med? With the sunshine now here in our own back garden and some really great Spanish, Italian and Greek foods in our shopping basket, all that’s missing is the sound of cicadas in the trees. Here’s our roundup of the best Mediterranean foods to bring some of that characteristic laid-back, food-loving spirit to your own kitchen.
What to See
Manchego Semi Curado
This Spanish sheep’s milk cheese is a must for any alfresco drinks party. It’s delicious cubed and stirred in with green olives or sliced on a charcuterie board with jamón iberico.
Price per weight, paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk
Odysea Pine and Fir Tree Honey
And next we fly to the pine-tree cloaked hills of the Greek islands. This honey holds the scents of the forests where the bees gather their nectar. Good enough on its own over a roasted summer peach or even better with thyme leaves drizzled liberally over melted goat’s cheese.
La Organic Balsamic Vinegar
In an inkwell-style bottle designed by Philippe Starch, these little balsamics couldn’t be cooler. Carefully selected from organic producers in Italy and Spain, pour this balsamic in a shallow bowl for the perfect companion to some freshly baked ciabatta or for something completely different try a tbsp over fresh strawberries and sugar.
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
This extra special Spanish cured ham comes from the black hooved Ibérico pigs who roam the oak groves of the Ibérico region of Spain snaffling up all the acorns (bellota). It’s the acorns that give the ham such a rich and nutty flavour. Sublime eaten as it is with a glass of chilled Amontillado sherry.
Beech-smoked Nardin Anchovy Fillets
No Mediterranean dining experience would be complete without something from the wonderful Mediterranean Sea itself. These little smoked anchovies are smoked on the day they’re caught for a great flavour. Add them to a puttanesca sauce or try them on a homemade pizza.
Olives Et Al Moorish Cumin and Coriander Olives
These olives hail from small artisan farmers in the Mediterranean and have been marinated in Moroccan flavours big on cumin and coriander. These olives are the perfect addition to a tagine or just as yummy eaten on their own – one bite will whisk you to the North African sunshine.
Sainsbury’s Chargrilled Artichokes In Olive Oil, Taste the Difference
These are chargrilled artichoke hearts, which have then been marinated with garlic, mint and white wine vinegar. We can’t resist eating a couple straight from the jar, but they’re also pretty nifty in a risotto or tossed with some linguine.