The French baguette becomes a UNESCO cultural heritage

The making of the baguette, the symbol of the French way of life, is now on the Unesco list of intangible cultural heritage by virtue of a vote that took place on Wednesday in Rabat in the United Nations body. The faithful companion of the tricolor tables, sold for around one euro, enters this catalog, which already includes the “gastronomic meal of the French”, the art of Neapolitan pizza and the Belgian beer.

This classification “underlines that a food practice can constitute a heritage in itself that helps us form a society”, declared Unesco’s Secretary-General, Audrey Azoulay. “This inscription honors the know-how of artisan bakers. It also pays homage to a whole French art of living: the baguette is a daily ritual, a structuring element of the meal, synonymous with sharing and conviviality. It is important that this craft knowledge and these social practices can continue to exist in the future”, she added, according to a text sent by her services.

Protect traditional cultural practices and know-how

The UN organization based in Paris created this category to protect traditional cultural practices and know-how, in addition to the list of notable sites and monuments that it guarantees. In addition to the know-how of the baguette, Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee, chaired by Morocco, this year examines among 56 applications for inscription, Algerian raï music, harissa, a spicy puree typical of Tunisian gastronomy, and chai (tea) culture in Azerbaijan and Turkey.

The baguette consists of simple products such as flour, water, salt and yeast, assembled according to a special technique guaranteed by the French bakery association, which wants to protect a know-how threatened by the industrial baguette. The dough must rest between 15 and 20 hours at a temperature between 4 and 6°C. According to a study by Fiducial carried out in 2019, more than 16 million baguettes are shaped every day in France and sold at an average unit price of 0.92 euros in around 32,000 bakeries.

(with Reuters)

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