Baguette: French bread has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List

Baguette: French bread has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List

Baguette: French bread has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List

  • Flora Drury
  • BBC

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According to a 2019 census, France produces about 6 billion baguettes annually

Few things are quintessentially French than the simple Persian bread known as a baguette. However, France says it produces 16 million baguettes a day.

However, the demand for baguettes has declined in recent years as traditional bakers struggle with the rise of things like supermarket chains and their various baked goods and the rising popularity of sourdough.

But there is something to celebrate in this respect: the UNESCO inscription of baguettes on the list of the world’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage”.

The agency said it had added “the skill and culture of French baguette-making” to its list of 600 other traditional practices that include things like China’s traditional tea-making and the Korean masked dance known as talkom, both of which are also listed. add first time 2022.

The inscription “celebrates the French way of life,” said Audrey Assoulay, head of UNESCO, adding: “The baguette is an everyday ritual, a staple food, synonymous with sharing and coexistence. Habits continue to exist in the future.”

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It is not known exactly how the baguette came about, as some say Napoleon asked this bread to be made because it would be easier for the soldiers to carry, while others say it later appeared in Paris as the bread that is easy for workers to cut and share without knives.

and still others credit an Austrian baker in the 1830s with the choice of its shape.

Despite this, the baguette as we know it today was only officially named a little over 100 years ago, in 1920. At that time, strict rules were introduced for the classification of bread as a baguette, since it had to be 80 centimeters long and weigh 250 grams. . Until 1986 there was even a fixed price.

By the mid-20th century, the baguette had spread across the country. But since 1970, about 400 bakeries have closed annually, until the total across France has dropped from 55,000 to 35,000 today, according to Agence France-Presse.

It remains a key to French identity, however, as President Emmanuel Macron has said baguettes are “the envy of the world”.

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The French delegation celebrates the moment of the UNESCO declaration waving a baguette

Macron, who has long sought to add baguettes to the UNESCO list, said after announcing his inclusion on the list: “250 grams of magic and mastery in our daily lives.”

As for the artisan bakers who remain loyal to the baguettes, Wednesday’s news was a welcome endorsement of their mastered craft.

“A baguette is flour, water, salt, yeast and the know-how of an artisan,” said Dominique Anrakt, president of the bakers’ union, in a press release.

Parisian baker Priscilla Heyertz told AFP news agency that it was a “basic product” but that it affected “all social and cultural groups, whether rich or poor … It doesn’t matter, everyone eats baguette”.

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