Baguette is a cultural treasure, declares Macron
FRANCE: Emmanuel Macron has thrown his presidential weight behind calls for the UN to recognise France’s beloved baguette as a ‘‘cultural -treasure’’.
‘‘I know our bakers,’’ the youthful president said after hosting a group of master bakers and apprentice bread and pastry makers at the Elysee palace for the traditional sharing of ‘‘galette des rois’’ cakes to mark the new year.
‘‘They saw that the Neapolitans had managed to get their pizza classed on UNESCO’s world heritage list, and they said why can’t we do this for the baguette. And they’re right,’’ he said.
The baguette, Macron proudly declared, is envied around the world. ‘‘We must preserve its excellence and our expertise, and it is for this reason that it should be heritage-listed,’’ he said.
If he gets his way, the ‘‘baguette de tradition’’ - which by law must be made using only flour, yeast, salt and water, unlike the ordinary baguette where the rules are less tight - could be on the road to Unesco glory.
The UN’s cultural body meets once a year to decide what will get on to its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is different from its register of places known as World Heritage Sites which includes the Taj Mahal.
The intangible list is mostly made up of crafts or traditional practices such as yoga, falconry or tango dancing, which the organisation believes should be protected and supported. But it also includes things related to food or drink, such as coffee culture or beer culture in Belgium.
Last month the city of Naples, more often in the headlines over mafia violence and rubbish-related woes, got the nod from the UN organisation when it gave its formal recognition to the traditional Neapolitan pizza.
The recognition of pizza making came after a 10-year lobbying campaign, including a petition signed by more than two million Italians, many of them fed up with abominations they see abroad such as topping pizza with pineapple, prawns, or mayonnaise.
It was for similar reasons that French bakers, fearful of the spread of poor quality bread in their country, launched their bid for the traditional baguette to join the Unesco hall of fame. They say it is not just the name and shape, but the ingredients and the craft of making the long loaves that need to be enshrined in order to save the baguette, which in French also means chopstick, wand or an orchestra conductor’s baton.
- Telegraph Group
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Paris’ best baguette baker of Paris 2017 winner Sami Bouattour prepares traditional French baguette for French President Emmanuel Macron who says baguettes are a cultural treasure.