French baguette voted on the UN World Cultural Heritage list

By | November 30, 2022

Issued on: Modified:

The baguette – a mixture of wheat flour, water, yeast, salt and a dash of savoir-faire, and as much a symbol of France as the Eiffel Tower – won UNESCO recognition when the UN body voted on Wednesday to include the “handmade know-how and culture of baguette bread” in its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The baguette, now a symbol of France around the world, has been a central part of the French diet for at least 100 years, and there are numerous myths about its origins.

One legend says that Napoleon Bonaparte’s bakers created the elongated shape to make it easier for his troops to transport, while another postulates that it was actually an Austrian baker named August Zang who invented the baguette.

These days, a baguette – meaning “wand” or “stick” – sells for around €1 ($1.04) each. More than six billion are baked each year in France.

Made with just flour, water, salt and yeast, the baguette dough must rest from 15 to 20 hours at a temperature between 4 and 6 degrees Celsius (39 to 43 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the French Confederation of Bakers, which fights to protect its industrial bakery market.

But if the ingredients are always the same, each bakery has its subtle style and every year there are national competitions to find the best baguette in the country.

Enjoy the FRANCE 24 baguette topping:

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Algerian Rai music and Tunisian harissa condiment were also among this year’s candidates for recognition as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO, which began deliberations on Monday in Morocco.

The 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage aims to safeguard and raise awareness of the “intangible cultural heritage of communities, groups and individuals concerned”.

“The intangible cultural heritage, passed down from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in terms of their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and gives them a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for diversity culture and human creativity”, he says.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, Reuters)

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