Modern Med

June 21st 2017

Modern Med

People are migrating due to civil unrest or economic opportunity. Migrants from countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, such as Syria, Lebanon, Libya and Egypt, are heading for Western Europe and North America in record numbers.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 1.2 million migrants from the Eastern Mediterranean region landed in European countries in 2016. In Canada alone, we have received a record number of refugees from the Eastern Mediterranean region.  The Liberal government’s pledge to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees in 2015 – and thousands more since – has become one of Canada’s largest resettlement efforts. According to the UNHCR, the top three countries of origin of refugees to Canada in 2016 were:

  • Syria: 33,266
  • Eritrea: 3,934
  • Iraq: 1,650

This flow of immigration will impact the flavours and foods in those countries receiving the most migration. Expect these cuisines and flavours to merge with European cuisines and local ingredients in the coming years. And it all starts with pasta.

Pasta is the foundation for inspired, new culinary traditions. Pasta is a staple dish in Italian cuisine, but it comes in many varieties due to its versatility. Pasta itself has a neutral flavour, but when paired with sauces, seasonings, meat and other ingredients, pasta is a tasty carrier for delivering the great tastes of Modern Med.

Taste the Trend

Here are several ways the East is meeting the West, with pasta as the base:

Persian Minestrone:

Eastern Mediterranean meets Italy in this warm, comforting meal. Hailing from Persia, Ash-e reshteh is a thick, hearty soup made with beans, herbs and flat noodles. Minestrone is a tomato-broth soup crafted with Italian beans, vegetables and pasta. For a new family favourite, fuse these two distinct flavour traditions together in a celebration of the best of both worlds.

Eastern Mediterranean Bolognese:

This tasty pasta dish brings a classic meat sauce of Italy together with the exotic spices and authentic flavours of Turkey’s traditional manti dumplings. Spooned over tender cavatelli pasta, Eastern Mediterranean Bolognese is topped with a cool yogurt, cucumbers, tomatoes and fresh mint.

Mediterranean Salt Cured Sea Bass with Spaetzle:

This warm dumpling and cured fish dish features the best of Mediterranean and Bavarian traditions. Sea Bass is flavorfully preserved in a 30-minute salt cure featuring the robust flavors of coriander, cumin, caraway seed and black pepper. Paired with a soft, homemade German egg noodle, this meal brings new – and delicious - meaning to culinary fusion. 

Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Barberries & Mint Yogurt - Served Over Pasta

Barberries - a small, dried, tart  fruit - add a sweet and sour twist to this Eastern Mediterranean take on the traditional Italian meatball. A spice blend including mint, along with the use of ground lamb and a Greek yogurt garnish elevate the dish to a brand new level of globally-inspired flavour.