Mediterranean Diet: A Heritage Journey at Spanish Museums

This 2023, the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage celebrates its 20th anniversary. The Ministry of Culture and Sport of Spain wished to join in this event by organizing various public and free dissemination events about those elements of the Spanish Intangible Cultural Heritage that are part of the Representative List and the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices. Of course, among them, the Mediterranean Diet had a special role. 

The attention to the Mediterranean Diet was given in the context of practical workshops organized in Spanish National Museums. The reason for choosing these locations was that there is no better place to observe and to experience practices related to intangible cultural heritage than museums. Their collections are the real reflection of all that knowledge, skills, festivities or social use that are part of the Spanish intangible cultural heritage. The environment they provide makes them the perfect spots to contextualize and get to know some of the Spanish elements included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Spanish National Museums have been hosting during the second half of 2023 different workshops in which experts from original bearer communities explained and taught some of the practices related to their ICH, inviting different groups of age and origin to participate in them, all of which have been very well received by the public. 

The workshops for showing the Mediterranean Diet were held at the National Museum of Archaeology in Madrid, having two editions: the first was for children and the second for grandchildren and grandparents. They consisted of a blind tasting to identify products related to the Mediterranean Diet, serving dishes as a Greek salad (tomato, black olives, cucumber…), a Spanish sandwich (ham and tomato) or a Moroccan dessert (oranges salad with cinnamon). The participants had to, first, smell the food and guess what it could be and, then, taste it and guess the ingredients. Meanwhile, the teacher was explaining the origin of those ingredients. All of this, together with an explanation about the links between Mediterranean countries, gave the assistants a general idea of the Mediterranean Diet as a shared heritage. At the end of the taste, the museum offered a small tour in its rooms, showing archaeological remains related to this ancestral diet. 

Imagen que contiene persona, interior, hombre, gato

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Un grupo de personas en un salón

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They have been very enriching and amusing experiences for the public, who seemed interested to join them since the beginning, with all the free spots full in a few days after the announcement and a great opinion after the courses.