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America has had what can best be described as a crush on Mediterranean cuisine for more than 20 years. While much of Americans focus has been on the Mediterranean diet, based on people from the island of Crete, there are actually 21 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea and two island nations located in it.
Tunisia is one of the smallest countries in the Mediterranean region and is the northernmost country in Africa, covering 64,000 square miles. Its bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya in the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Geographically it has a very diverse topography, as it contains the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains, as well as the northern reaches of the Sahara Desert.
The Mediterranean basin is known for its mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which allows the regions forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation to thrive. Olive trees, while native to ancient Persia (modern day Iran) and Mesopotamia (Iraq, Turkey and Syria)
have thrived throughout the Mediterranean Basin. Like all countries in the Mediterranean basin, Tunisia offers a "sun cuisine", based mainly on olive oil, spices, tomatoes, seafood and meat.
In 2015, Tunisia was the world's 2nd largest producer of olive oil, although 60-70% of this is shipped to Spain, Italy and France for rebottling as their own.
The signature spice blend in Tunisia is Tabil, pronounced "ta ble". While most of North Africa is best known for complex spicing (Berbere, Ras el Hanout and Harissa Spice), Tabil is simple, graceful and will intensify just about anything.