PARIS – The baguette, a long loaf of bread, has been granted special recognition by the United Nations.
UNESCO, the international committee tasked with determining things of cultural significance, added the know-how and culture of baguette bread to its Intangible Heritage list, the agency announced Wednesday.
UNESCO is holding its 17th session in Morocco, and has been announcing additions to the list, which include manual bell ringing, crafting and playing the Oud, and Alheda’a — an oral tradition of calling camel flocks in Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
UNESCO is composed of 24 representatives from the 180 States Parties to the Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. UNESCO said there were 56 applications for additions to the list this year.
The simple baguette earned recognition after France’s culture ministry argued for its inclusion, citing a “continuous decline” in the number of traditional bakeries, The Associated Press reported.
“The baguette is very few ingredients — flour, water, salt, yeast — and yet each baguette is unique, and the essential ingredient every time is the baker’s skill,” Dominique Anract, president of the National Confederation of French Bakery and Patisserie told The Washington Post.
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s director general, told CNN that the baguette’s inscription pays tribute to the food’s tradition and craftsmanship, and ensures the “artisanal way of baking” continues for future generations.
The Observatoire du Pain, a research group that tracks bread consumption, found the average daily consumption of bread among adults dropped from 5 ounces per day in 2003 to 3.6 ounces per day in 2016, CNN reported.
Members of the French UNESCO delegation celebrated the news of the bread’s accolade by hoisting baguettes into the air, The Washington Post reported.
The French government told the AP it planned to celebrate the baguette’s new status by creating an artisanal baguette day called “Open Bakehouse Day.”
The baguette is said to have been invented by an Austrian-born baker in 1839, August Zang, who also created France’s steam oven, which made it possible to create a bread with a crunchy crust and a fluffy center, the AP reported.
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