Written By: Ellie Wilson, MS, RD Senior Nutritionist, Price Chopper Supermarkets There are many voices highlighting different diet strategies, but none of them is as time tested, delicious and now highly proven to offer the best any diet can offer – exciting, appetizing fare that results in substantially better health for most people. Enter the Mediterranean diet, a food heritage and cuisine that emphasizes extra virgin olive oil, fruits and vegetables, seafood and nuts, along with red wine, as mainstays. Pasta, crusty breads and beans round out the Mediterranean foundation. We carry a great variety of imported Italian foods, including Price Chopper and international brands, and many of them are highlighted during our Italian celebration starting on October 11th. They offer an authentic link to the flavors and foods of the Mediterranean. Extra virgin olive oil is darker green in color, and can vary in flavor from sweet to peppery. The darker color means there are more polyphenols and antioxidants, which contribute to the flavor elements and healthfulness of the oil. Great for cooking at lower temperatures, and for adding cold to salads and bread dips, extra virgin olive oil should be a staple in your pantry. The best study showed that up to 4 tablespoons of olive oil per day helped protect from high cholesterol, high blood pressure and stroke. San Marzano tomatoes are a particular heirloom variety of tomatoes originating from the small Italian town of San Marzano sul Sarno, and have been grown since the 1700’s, when they were brought back from Peru. They have a strong, sweet taste and lower acidity than Roma’s, and make a wonderful sauce. They are so unique, they are certified by the Italian government. Lycopene, an antioxidant that also lends its red color to tomatoes, is more easily absorbed from cooked tomatoes, so these items are rich sources. Check out the Price Chopper and Cento brand canned tomatoes, great for sauces and salsa’s. DeLallo brand began offering authentic Italian foods door to door in the 1940’s. Their pepperoncini and giardinera are wonderful – spice up cole slaw with thin slices of pepperoncini, or add it to a sandwich mixed with shredded lettuce. Giardinera is a jarred vegetable salad with cauliflower and carrots in a spicy vinegar, comes in mild and hot varieties, and is a savory, convenient vegetable side salad for lunch or dinner. Cento brand has brought over 1,000 authentic, premium Italian foods to the United States for over 40 years, and flavor makers like anchovy, clam juice and marinated artichokes are all highlighted this week. Put it all together with fresh seafood (October is National Seafood Month) and you will enjoy the best the Mediterranean diet has to offer! An easy, delicious dinner can include your choice of fresh white fish (1 pound) like cod or haddock, broiled. Combine Price Chopper canned San Marzano tomatoes (28 oz.), in a sauce pan with two tablespoons each of dried basil and oregano, two cloves of minced garlic, and one anchovy filet, brought to a boil, then simmer and reduce until slightly thickened (about 15 minutes). Be sure the filet has dissolved into the sauce. Serve over the white fish, with a side of al dente pasta and a green salad with olives. Serves 3-4. You can also try our Create, Take and Bake fresh seafood meals at the seafood counter. Welcome to the Mediterranean!