Instant Gifting


Much has been said in the past couple of decades about the benefits of the “Mediterranean diet”.  It is believed to be healthier for the heart, the immune system and it is even credited with providing a sunnier outlook on life.

In our kitchen and in our family, this is not a fad, but a way of life. For generations we have cooked with the Mediterranean ingredients, not because of scientific knowledge, but because we love good food.

With its mild climate and fresh sea breeze, the Mediterranean region has a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and spices that are originally native to the area.  While most of these are found throughout the region including in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Egypt, Croatia, Israel, Lebanon, each culture has developed their own uses for the ingredients as they created their typical cuisines we know today.


At The Terrace we are passionate about using the freshest of ingredients. Whenever possible, we take advantage of organic, locally grown ingredients, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, etc.  In keeping with our tradition, we use only the highest quality meats, fish, cheeses and oils.


Following is a list ofjust some of the typical Mediterranean ingredients, their uses and some of their believed health benefits.  Please note, that we do not represent these health benefits as scientifically proven facts, merely as common beliefs in the area. (You should always check with your doctor for health benefits)



Olive oil

Olive oil is the star ingredient of the Mediterranean diet.  Called “liquid gold” by Homer, it has been used for thousands of years throughout the Mediterranean as the main oil for cooking as well as for sauces, dressings and dips.It is also used for cosmetic, medicinal and even religious purposes.

It is believed to be excellent for the heart, due to its rich antioxidants, mono-unsaturated fats, and high levels of polyphenols. Additionally, it is believed to be very beneficial for the entire digestive track.

It is best to buy the extra virgin cold-pressed variety, particularly when serving uncooked.


One of the most indispensable items in a Mediterranean kitchen, particularly in a Spain and Italy.  Technically it a fruit, though it is used as a vegetable, both raw and cooked.There are many varieties of tomatoes, and nearly as many uses in the kitchen.  It has a delicious savory taste and pairs wonderfully with garlic, onions, herbs, meats, fish, pastas, and vegetables.  Often used in sauces, soups, and raw in salads.

It has numerous health benefits, and new ones seem to be continually added.  It is high in vitamins A and C. Its high lycopene content is believed to protect against oxidative damage, therefore beneficial against cancers.


Though it is often seen a garnish in the US, This herb is actually packed full of vitamins.  It contains more vitamin C than most citrus fruits.  Also, it isa good source of iron, calcium, potassium, and manganese.Throughout the Mediterranean, it is perhaps the most used herb, paired with fish, meats, used in sauces, in salads and in dips.  Used both, raw and cooked.

When eaten raw, it is a great preventer of bad breath, especially after garlic.



With its intense fragrant aroma it is an important herb used especially in France, Italy and Spain mostly to complement fish, meats, vegetables and cheeses.High in iron, calcium and B6.  It was prized by ancient Greeks for being good for the brain and used for its aromatherapy qualities.



A basic ingredient throughout Mediterranean Europe, it is used to enhance the flavor of grilled meats, soups and stews.Used not only for its aromatic culinary quality, but also believed useful for its medicinal capabilities.  In Europe it is thought to be an antiviral and antibacterial that is beneficial against coughs.  Also valued as a natural preservative.


Basil, which means “king” in Greek, is still considered by many culinary greats as the king of herbs.There are different varieties of it, but basically all have a sweet, strong flavor.  It is very popular in Italy as not just the main ingredient in pesto, but also in salads, sauces, and with pastas.It pairs wonderfully with tomatoes and olive oil.  It should be used fresh, as cooking destroys its flavor.

Basil contains a number of components thought to be protective against cell damage, such as flavonoids and vitamins A and C.  It is believed to be anti-inflammatory due to its eugenol content.  As well, it is thought to be antiviral and antibacterial.


Used widely in the Mediterranean region, particularly in the Middle Easter parts. It has a pleasant fresh aromatic and cool flavor.  Paired often with lamb as well as used in salads such as tabuleh.  It is also commonly used in beverages, jellies, candies and ice creams.Medicinally, it is widely used in Mediterranean homes, who believe it is helpful for mild stomach aches, as a decongestant for colds, to whiten teeth and for its aromatherapy qualities.


It’s Latin name, Salvia mean to save, which refers to the many healing properties this herb was believed to have since ancient Greek times.  The Romans considered it sacred as a remedy for virtually every ailment.Today, it is still believed to have healing powers as an antiseptic and antimicrobial.  It is also used for its believed digestive aid properties.  Some believe that it can improve memory too.

It has a slight peppery flavor.  In the kitchen, it is used with meats, particularly in sausages, for sauces, and paired with pastas.


This herb grows wild on Mediterranean mountains.  It has an intense strong flavor that accompanies well a variety of Mediterranean dishes ranging from meats and vegetables to pizzas and dressings.Its popularity in the US grew after WWII soldiers returned and had discovered its taste from pizzas in Italy.

It is believed to be beneficial as an anti-parasitic, an anti-bacterial, and as an anti-oxidant. Some US universities are conducting studies on its oil for a possible anti-cancer treatment.

Cilantro – Coriander

This plant’s name causes some confusion. Both the leaves and seeds are referred to as coriander in Europe, where as in the US, the leaves/stem are called cilantro and the seeds, coriander.It grown natively in southern Europe and the leaves, which have distinctive citrus overtones, are used mostly fresh in salads, sauces as well as a finishing touch to many dishes.  The seeds taste completely different, and are used mostly cooked.

Cilantro is high in antioxidants and believed to have anti-bacterial properties as well being beneficial for diabetes.


Like tomatoes, it is technically a fruit, though used as a vegetable.  Bitter if raw, but when cooked appropriately becomes tender with a rich complex flavor.  Though not originally native to the Mediterranean region, it is now grown and used throughout.  Used in stews, such as the French ratatouille, it is grilled, blended in dips, such as babaganouge, pickled, stuffed and used in sauces.It is very high in antioxidants, vitamins, potassium and fiber, therefore, believed to have many health benefits.

Garbanzos (chickpeas)

Garbanzos are legumes, and along with many other legumes such as lentils and beans, are an important and healthy ingredient of the entire Mediterranean region.  Typically they are cooked and served either warm in stews and soups or served cold in salads and dips such as hummus.  They are also grounded up to make the flour used in falafel.As most legumes, they are high in fiber, iron, folate, proteins, and low in fat.  They are packed with vitamins and minerals, and therefore considered to be very beneficial for the immune system.


A staple in the Mediterranean region, it is neither an herb nor a spice, but in the onion family.   It is widely used both, raw and cooked.  Added to soups, meats, sauces, vegetables, dips, and breads, it has a distinct strong flavor and aroma.It is thought to have numerous health benefits ranging from antibacterial and antiviral qualities to protection against heart disease.


The typical Mediterranean diet includes a variety of nuts, which are eaten raw, roasted, cooked, and used in desserts and beverages.  Most commonly used ones are pine nuts, chestnuts, almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts.Nuts tend to be high in antioxidants, fiber, and minerals and vitamins, particularly E and B6.  They are thought to be excellent for the heart as well as good for the immune system.