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Monday, Jun 21, 2021

Baguette to battle for UNESCO cultural protection as bakers warn of 'imposter' threat

Baguette to battle for UNESCO cultural protection as bakers warn of 'imposter' threat

The take over by supermarkets has seen boulangeries in decline, with 30,000 closing since the 1950s.

The humble baguette will battle against Paris rooftops and a wine festival to join the UNESCO listing of cultural treasures.

Purchasing a baguette has long since been a daily ritual for French people with around six million sold in France every day.

However, Dominique Anract, President of the Confederation for French Bakers, has warned "the cultural habit is under threat" as traditional craft loaves are pushed off shelves by frozen breadsticks.

Boulangeries in France have been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions over the past year.


Bakers say a UNESCO listing would "protect a know-how that has passed through generations and shield the baguette from imposters around the world".

To be added to the United Nations rankings of Intangible Treasures, the baguette will have to battle it out against two rivals: the zinc-plated rooftops of Paris and the Jura region's Biou d'Arbois wine festival.

France's culture minister will recommend one to the president in March.

The UNESCO "intangible heritage" marker recognises "oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and methods of traditional craftsmanship".

To date, the craft behind 1,500 or more beers brewed in Belgium have made the list, as have the Neapolitan art of pizza swirling and the ancient methods of making flatbread in Iran.

A 1993 French government decree states traditional baguettes must be made of nothing more than the four classic ingredients, while fermentation of the dough should last 15 to 20 hours at a temperature between 4 and 6 degrees celsius.

Boulangeries in France have been hit hard by COVID restrictions over the past year.

Mickael Reydellet, the owner of eight bakeries, said the title would "comfort bakers and encourage the next generation".

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