Macron: French baguettes should be Unesco-listed treasures

Baguettes in a bakery in Nantes western France                  REUTERS  Stephane Mahe

Baguettes in a bakery in Nantes western France REUTERS Stephane Mahe

France already has some culinary recognition by Unesco, with "the gastronomic meal of the French" having received World Heritage status in 2010, and defined as "a customary social practice designed to celebrate the most important moments in life".

It comes after the UN body recently confirmed that the art of pizza making from the Italian city of Naples was to be added to the world's leading cultural list.

President Emmanuel Macron is hoping to lend some serious sway to a campaign by his country's bakers to have the iconic doughy delicacy secure a place on UNESCO's "intangible heritage" list.

He may be happy for the novel to have remained out of the public domain as he seeks to restore the dignity of the French presidency.

Speaking on French radio, President Macron said that "excellence and expertise must be preserved, and that is why it should be heritage-listed".

The bakers say it is not just the name and shape, but the recipe and ingredients that need to be enshrined.

Artisan bread makers in France have often raised concerns about the rise of mass-produced imitations of their 'national treasure' tarnishing their traditions.

"When I see the quality of bread in supermarkets, it is impossible not to get angry", Dominique Anract, president of the National Confederation of French Patisseries and Bakeries said.

The baguette is part of the daily life of the French people, in the morning, midday and evening.

While the traditional baguette was granted protected status in France in 1993, an addition to the UNESCO list would grant it protection from globalisation. To meet the criteria, the bread must only be made from four ingredients: wheat flour, water, yeast and salt.

French food is already on UNESCO's list. It cannot be frozen or contain added preservatives. Yoga, Spanish flamenco and Tibetan Opera have already made the grade, as have Belgian beer culture and the gingerbread craft of northern Croatia.

"There is even a broadly termed listing for the ".

The UK has no entries in the list.

The list, which is reviewed annually includes items "that testify to the diversity of the intangible heritage and raise awareness of its importance".

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