French baguettes could soon be protected by Unesco

Baguettes could soon be recognised as an official part of France’s cultural heritage by Unesco, as a bakery group plans to present its case.

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This weekend, bakery federation La Confédération Nationale de la Boulangerie-Pâtisserie Française (CNBPF) held its annual congress in Paris, including a discussion of its plan to present an official candidate application to Unesco (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).

The group has requested that the Conseil de Paris review the application, and present it for official consideration.

If successful, French baking and patisserie would be officially recognised as “intangible cultural heritage”, and recorded on the prestigious Intangible World Heritage List.

The list aims to protect and raise awareness of cultural heritage that cannot be defined by a single place or item.

It can include - for example - clothes, food, festivals, craft traditions, rare languages, and songs.

The CNBPF launched its campaign by sending a baked tart to Mr Macron, asking for his backing, which the group received. The group has also called on Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, to support the campaign.

French baking is not the only national culinary industry interested in official Unesco status; Parisian bistros are also set to present a file for similar consideration, but the CNBPF is sceptical that they can compete.

Dominique Antract, president of the CNBPF, said: “I wrote to [Mr Macron], we need your support. And he said that we had it completely. I hope and think that the [symbol of] the baguette will make the difference for us. And if we are successful, we will be able to support bistros.”

The traditional bakery sector in France is worth €11 billion, comprising 32,000 companies and 180,000 employees.

Yet, it has reportedly suffered in recent years due to a sharp drop in demand for traditionally-made bread, as well as competition from chain bakeries and supermarkets.

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