Baguette is a cul­tural trea­sure, de­clares Macron

The Timaru Herald - - WORLD -

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.

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