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The French baguette is now on a UNESCO protection list

News fresh out of the oven: the baguette, the long, crusty bread that is a delicious staple of French life, has been granted special protection status, placing it in the culinary Olympus alongside other regional gastronomic delights from around the world. world.

The “artisan know-how and the culture of the baguette” have been officially recognized on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the organization announced on Wednesday, registering the expertise of French bread as an essential part of human culture.

UNESCO, the cultural body of the United Nations, defines Intangible Cultural Heritage as “living traditions or expressions inherited from our ancestors and transmitted to our descendants.”

The baguette joins other food and culinary cultures on Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, such as Neapolitan pizza making, kimchi, Belgian beer culture, the Mediterranean diet, and Arabic coffee.

Although Unesco recognizes places in the United States such as the Statue of Liberty, Yellowstone National Park and Independence Hall in Philadelphia as World Heritage Sites, there is currently nothing from this country on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. the organization.

Tradition and craft production

The director general of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, told CNN that the protection status of the baguette pays tribute to “tradition”, “artisan production” and guarantees that the “artisan way of baking” is “transmitted to the next generation”.

“It’s kind of a way of life,” Azoulay said. “There’s always a boulangerie nearby, you can go buy fresh and affordable bread and you meet people, you meet the bakers, it’s a very important element of social cohesion.”
Azoulay said it took France six years to gather all the necessary documentation before submitting its application to UNESCO.

“This will make people realize that this regular baguette that they know so well is precious,” she said.

“It comes from history and it has character, and it’s important for the public to be aware of it, to be proud of it.”

Although boulangeries in France typically sell many types of baguette, the best are known as “baguettes de tradition” or simply traditions. They are made with only four ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast or ferment and must be baked on site.

According to the Observatoire du Pain, a research group that monitors bread consumption habits and trends in France, the average rate of daily bread consumption among adults fell from 143 g/day in 2003 to 103 g /day, in 2016. The rise of supermarket chains selling bread has been attributed to the closure of hundreds of family bakeries.

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