Macron: French baguettes should be Unesco-listed treasures

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UNESCO's list of national cultural treasures was established in 2008 and aims to save time-old traditions from globalisation.

"The baguette is the envy of the whole world", he said, in support of a national bakers' association that is promoting the application.

Boulangerie professionals have long advocated for the traditional bread to be recognised by Unesco, and this week Mr Macron joined the chorus of voices calling for it to officially become part of France's heritage.

Those comments were made before he went to the Elysée on Friday to join the head of state and fellow master bakers and munch on galette des rois, or king's cake.

The bakers behind the French application say it is not just the recipe which needs conserving, but the name and shape of the popular bread too.

"When I see the growing dominance of French supermarkets and convenience stores in the sale of bread, I say to myself that we must act", Antract told the website Atabula, adding that he could not help feeling "indignant" about the quality of what is sold as baguettes in the malls and corner shops.

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 have been inspired by the success of Italy's Naples pizza, which was protected by the UN's cultural body last year.

The traditional baguette is already protected in France by a law passed in 1993. It cannot be frozen or contain added preservatives.

Unesco's Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage is different from its register of places, known as World Heritage Sites. Yoga, Spanish flamenco and Tibetan Opera have already made the grade, as have Belgian beer culture and the gingerbread craft of northern Croatia. That submission was centred mostly around the rituals that accompany the cuisine: how wines are paired with dishes, how the table is dressed, and the precise placing of glasses and cutlery.

"I know our bakers, they saw the Neapolitans succeed in getting their pizza classified under UNESCO world heritage and they said 'Why not the baguette?' and they're right!" The claim surfaced in a biography of his wife Brigitte, 64, to be published next week.