Mediterranean Munchies

Mediterranean specialty foodsMy search for Mediterranean delicacies led us to Portland, Oregon for a few days last month. Portland is one of my favorite cities. It has everything a larger city has, but with a small city vibe. Anyway, our search led us to two Mediterranean markets in particular; Martinotti’s  Cafe and Deli and Barbur World Foods. The former is a small, family run deli with a few specialty foods and LOTS of unusual wines. The latter is a much larger market with everything you could ever want – and more.  I had to stifle myself at both locations and could easily have spent hundreds of dollars. Luckily we had the cooler with us so I was able to bring back a good selection including some of these munchies:

Green Olives from Turkey – There were probably 20 olive varieties to choose from. I randomly picked up this package. The olives are large, tart, and delicious – if you are an olive lover. They are not for everyone. Most of my family chose to eat only one. That’s ok, more for me!

Spanish Olive Oil – Again, several olive oils in the selection. I’ll be honest, I chose these Spanish olive oils because I liked the bottles. We’ve only opened one, made from Cornicabra olives. The oil is medium green in color with a zesty, almost spicy flavor. I would purchase it again.

Dried Tomatoes in Oil from Italy – Dried tomatoes are pretty well known to everyone. What isn’t as well known is that there are good dried tomatoes and ok dried tomatoes. These were great dried tomatoes. The best dried tomatoes are deep red and plump, stored in real olive oil.

Mostarda from Italy – An Italian condiment, mostarda is basically a mustardy preserve with large pieces of fruit. I purchased this jar (not easy to find) because I want to make some of my own this year and wanted something to compare it to. Haven’t yet tried it. Have you? What are your feelings on mostarda?

Nuts in Honey from the Middle East– These are almost too pretty to eat. But I bet they will be delicious over yogurt or vanilla ice cream.

There were many other purchases; a pungent cheese, some angel hair cheese that was fun for the kids,  a fig cake full of nuts, some really good pasta made from nice hard duram, fresh fenugreek which I will probably use in a Middle Eastern or Indian recipe, cute little savory cheese pies topped with black olives, a pasta salad with sun dried tomatoes and Italian parsely, delicate violet flavored, Italian pastiglie candy, and luscious sweetened cheese rolled in a dough that was somewhere between a crepe and a thin pancake.

These Mediterranean munchies all had one thing in common; a little goes a long way. It’s amazing that when you eat real food with real flavor it’s easy to savor small amounts and not overeat. An excellent reason to eat Mediterranean.

What are your favorite Mediterranean foods? Do you have a favorite Mediterranean market where you like to shop? Are there any Mediterranean foods you would like to try but can’t find in your area? I would love to hear from you.


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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at and

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