The Adriatic Sea is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea. And, like all Mediterranean countries, the Croatian coast has a unique way of life that has long been hailed as being immensely healthy, not just for the body, but also for the mind and soul. This lifestyle is based on traditional approaches and attitudes to the world around us, with an increasingly modern twist on these traditions to provide a lifestyle that is innovative, smart, and sustainable. Of course, given the islands and coastal location, this lifestyle utilises the abundance that the Adriatic Sea has to offer, including sailing!
We often get asked by guests and visitors to Croatia, especially in the planning stages, where they can find an “authentic Mediterranean” experience. Many who visit Croatia to charter yachts and go on sailing holidays are looking for those home-spun, warm, and welcoming experiences. And yet the principles of this kind of life go much deeper than a simple catchphrase or dinner/lunch experience that tends to be very much over-used in many tourism sectors.
Add to that the fact that Mediterranean food usually gets the spotlight when talking about a Mediterranean Diet and there are so many other nuances to that here in Croatia. To really see the Mediterranean diet when you’re visiting the islands, you need to adopt one of its key principles: spend time and observe. The Mediterranean Diet is all around!
Project MD Net – Mediterranean Diet
It was really interesting to spend the last month working with the Public Institution RERA S.D. (the regional development agency Split-Dalmatia County) on their project MD Net to document and promote ‘the Mediterranean Diet, using the word “diet” in its original form where it refers to not just what foods are eaten, it also encompasses aspects like lifestyle, activities, culture, people, exercise and drink. Learning about all of the different facets that are covered under the umbrella Med Diet, how different families from different parts of the coast of Croatia embody the lifestyle, and how deeply ingrained this heritage is. It really gave us an intimate glimpse into the lives of many people that we have worked with within the summer season for years!
The Concept – Mediterranean Diet
We had a chat with Michael Freer and Nick Hathaway from Hashtag Content Agency, the team that won the contract to put together the visuals for this project, to see what they had to say about this “Mediterranean Diet” concept.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
Let’s establish from the beginning exactly what the Med Diet is. Something we have become a lot clearer about over the past two months.
IT IS NOT a “diet” where the end goal is to simply lose weight.
IT IS a valuable cultural heritage that represents so much more than a simple nutritional, rich and healthy pattern.
IT IS a lifestyle, daily practices, a sustainable way of living.
IT IS beyond food, based on social harmony and family time.
IT IS about protecting & respecting biodiversity and ecosystems.
IT IS daily meetings around the table, special events, and festivities
IT IS sharing the cooking time and traditional recipes passed down through families and generations.
IT IS all within the framework of an active life, including work, outdoor leisure activities, and adequate rest.
The Project – The Med Diet Declaration
The Med Diet Declaration, according to the Interreg MD.net website, aims to achieve greater visibility and significance of the Mediterranean diet across all sectors, such as agriculture, food production, health, culture, sport, education, economy, tourism, rural development, and sustainability. The project is an opportunity for local and regional actors to demonstrate the crucial role they can play in strengthening the economic potential of the Mediterranean diet in rapidly changing landscapes and lifestyles, for them to highlight the active role they play in DEFENDING, PRESERVING and PROMOTING the Mediterranean diet.
For the first round of applications and to get the project up and running, individuals, family-run small businesses and established local enterprises were encouraged to apply to be featured on film in the five 10 minute episodes. Applications submitted were assessed on their Mediterranean significance and on how their work highlights the Mediterranean diet and promotes its values. In their applications they presented:
– the relevance of their activity, services and/or products in helping to promote the significance and lifestyle of the Mediterranean diet;
– their link with key events, informative and educational activities, staff training, and any other activity that seeks to raise awareness of the significance and lifestyle of the Mediterranean diet;
– their specific role in supporting, developing, or promoting common values that underpin the Mediterranean diet and its lifestyle.
Five Key Areas
The philosophy of the Mediterranean Diet was split into five key areas of focus:
Food – The most commonly talked about aspect of the Mediterranean diet. From buying or growing, to preparing and eating, food is so much more than just calories. It is a seasonal and colourful feast for the eyes, a way of bringing people together, a method of healing, and a practice that ties us to past generations.
Drink – Drinks flow freely in the Mediterranean diet. And for every time of day and activity, there is a drink to accompany it. Yet it isn’t necessarily the drink itself that is important, but more so the way it’s prepared and consumed, with care, attention to tradition, and in the right company.
Activity – Enjoying fresh, organic food and locally made drink take work. Cultivating your own fruit and vegetables, being a part of a tight-knit community, living harmoniously with the natural elements surrounding us. All very Mediterranean and all things that take time, effort and discipline. They call it the outdoor gym, where you get to use and flex your muscles all year round.
Community – Family. Friends. Classmates and colleagues. Children, families and old people. People to spend time with. People to help out in times of need and to celebrate within times of abundance. And despite this day and age of technology and everything going online, you can still visit any town square to really experience the reality of how important community still is within the Mediterranean diet.
Lifestyle – This key area of the Mediterranean Diet is the silent thread that ties everything together. Founded on principles of slow living, the lifestyle emphasis is on quality, not quantity, on seasonal cycles, and on sustainable practices that are handed down from generation to generation.
The Endorsers – The Med Diet Declaration
These finalists are all involved in tourism in one way or another. They either sell traditional products, serve traditional foods or offer traditional services to foreign and local tourists, helping to spread the Mediterranean Diet Lifestyle with the world. They live the Med Diet values.
The Future – The Med Diet Declaration
While the inital launch of the project here in Croatia is being organised for the end of November, all individuals, family-run small businesses and established local enterprises are still being encouraged to apply to be included as endorsers of this Med Diet Declaration Brand. More on how to join the Med Diet Declaration as endorsers is found here online.
We are looking forward to experiencing all the above Endorsers have to offer and introducing their products and services to the many visitors for summer in 2022 or even before.
If you have questions on anything sailing in Croatia, feel free to ask below in the comments or check out Total Croatia, Sailing in Croatia: Your One-Stop-Shop for everything sailing.