The Mediterranean diet, although a food, cultural and social element widely shared and practiced by peoples of different states overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, has a particular identity value in some communities, defined as "emblematic". Emblematic communities, as described in the UNESCO application file of the Mediterranean Diet, are those territorially defined social groups representative of the universal values declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and particularly responsible for the preservation and enhancement of the element. The emblematic communities are those communities that for historical, scientific or qualitative reasons take on particular importance in the national communities of the seven proposing States (Italy, Spain, Greece, Morocco, Portugal, Croatia and Cyprus), and which base substantial part of the their identity and their continuity in this collective and ancestral experience as the Mediterranean Diet, the result of continuous exchanges, experiences and symbolic traditions handed down from generation to generation, cultural and social mix and rich range of regional tones.
In recognizing the Mediterranean diet as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, UNESCO distinguished seven emblematic communities where “the Mediterranean diet is still alive, transmitted, protected, celebrated and recognized as part of the shared Intangible Cultural Heritage”. The list of the emblematic communities was made official by the Declaration of Chefchaouen, in which seven Mediterranean communities committed themselves to the future safeguarding and promotion of the element that characterizes and combines them in one collective. The communities Pollica and Cilento were nominated in Italy, locations in which American physiologist Ancel Benjamin Keys resided for many years to study, elaborate and demonstrate the hypothesis of his studies on the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease, which led him to formulate the hypothesis on the influence of lifestyle on such illnesses and the benefits of the application of the Mediterranean diet.
In addition to Pollica in the National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Monti Alburni in Italy, UNESCO also recognized Koroni in Greece, Soria in Spain, and Chefchaouen in Morocco, which then followed with the village Agros in Cyprus, Tavira in Portugal, and the islands Brač and Hvar in Croatia, in 2013.