Why The French Want Their Baguettes UN Listed
After Belgium's beers and Naples' pizzas, the oh-so-French baguette may soon join the UNESCO world listing of cultural wonders.
France's baguette bakers, backed by President Emmanuel Macron, have put in a bid to get their traditions and techniques - as Gallic as Gauloises cigarettes and the Eiffel Tower - added to the UN rankings of intangible treasures.
Supporters led by La Confederation Nationale de la Boulangerie-Patisserie Francaise (CNBPF) say the craft loaf is already being pushed off shop shelves, even in France, by frozen bread sticks made on giant assembly lines.
"If it continues like this, there'll be no more bakeries left in France, even though they're world famous," says master baker Mahmoud M'seddi, whose baguettes won the annual best-in-France prize this year.
"We really need this (the UNESCO listing) to be able to protect this French know-how."
The real thing, say supporters of the bid, is supposed to be sold at the bakery that made it or an affiliated business. The dough should not be frozen. Nothing should be added apart from the classic ingredients - flour, water, yeast and salt.
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The bakers' moment may come at the annual review meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), scheduled for late November in Mauritius. The UNESCO "intangible heritage" marker already covers ancient methods of making flat breads in Iran, Kazakhstan and other countries.
The craft behind 1,500 or more beers brewed in Belgium has got the nod, as has the Neapolitan art of pizza twirling.
Featured Image: Getty Images.