The iconic French baguette has gained new status by securing a spot on the United Nation’s intangible cultural heritage list.
The elongated loaf with a crunchy crust was voted on to the UNESCO list by experts on Wednesday under the title “artisanal know-how and culture of baguette bread”.
The baguette has been a central part of the French diet for at least 100 years and joins kimchi, Jamaican reggae, yoga and around 600 other traditions from more than 130 countries on the list.
The decision honours not only bread but also recognises the “savoir-faire of artisanal bakers” and “a daily ritual”, Audrey Azoulay, the UNESCO chief, said.
“It is important that these skills and social habits continue to exist in the future.”
France makes around 16 million loaves a day, or nearly six billion a year, according to a 2019 Fiducial estimate.
Yet the culture ministry has warned of a “continuous decline” in the number of traditional bakeries, with some 400 closing every year over the past 50 years.
Marine Fourchier, who lives in Paris, said: “It’s very easy to get bad baguette in France. It’s the traditional baguette from the traditional bakery that’s in danger. It’s about quality not quantity.”
In January Leclerc, a French supermarket, was criticised by traditional bakers and farmers for its much-publicised 29-cent baguette, who accused it of sacrificing quality.
A baguette – which means “wand” or “baton” – is typically sold for about a euro (87p) and is made only from flour, water, salt and yeast.
Other food and drink on the cultural heritage list:
Michoacan cuisine (a traditional Mexican cuisine)
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With the bread’s new status, the government said it plans to create an artisanal baguette day, called the Open Bakehouse Day, to connect the French better with their heritage.
Although the baguette’s ingredients are simple, the dough must rest for 15 to 20 hours at a temperature between 4C and 6C, according to the French Bakers Confederation, which fights to protect its market from industrial bakeries.
Although a quintessential symbol of France, the baguette is said to have been invented by Vienna-born baker August Zang, in 1839.
Source : Sky News