French bakers want baguette to be Intangible Heritage

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The famous baguette, as big a symbol of France as the Eiffel Tower, may soon be on UNESCO’s list of cultural treasures.

According to CNN, French bakers say traditional artisan bread, whose purchase at the local bakery has been a ritual in French daily life for decades, is being pushed off store shelves, even in France, by frozen bread sticks made on assembly lines giants.

“There is no single secret to making a good traditional baguette,” said Mickael Reydellet, owner of eight bakeries. “It takes time, a expertise, the right way to bake, a good flour without additives. ”

A French Government decree of 1993 states that “traditional” baguettes must be made with nothing more than the four classic ingredients. The fermentation of the dough should last 15 to 20 hours at a temperature between 4ºC to 6ºC.

The Confederation of French Bakers has submitted its request for the baguette to be added to the ranking of intangible treasures.

Bakers believe that the UNESCO list would retain a know-how that has gone through generations and protect the baguette from imposters around the world.

French bakeries were hit hard by restrictions against the covid-19 pandemic last year. “This title would comfort the bakers and encourage the next generation, ”said Reydellet.

About six million baguettes are sold daily in France. However, Dominique Anract, president of the bakers’ federation, said the cultural habit is threatened, with some 30,000 bakeries closing since 1950, as supermarkets took over. “The first thing we ask a child to do is buy a baguette at a bakery,” said Anract. “We must protect these habits ourselves.”

Currently, the baguette faces two rivals in the French offer: the galvanized roofs of Paris and the Biou d’Arbois wine festival of the Jura region.

France’s Minister of Culture will make his recommendation to the President in March.

UNESCO’s “intangible heritage” marker – designed to recognize oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and traditional craft methods – already covers ancient methods of making flat bread in Iran and Kazakhstan. The art behind 1,500 or more beers produced in Belgium was recognized, as well as the Neapolitan art of rotate the pizza.

Maria Campos Maria Campos, ZAP //