Culinary traditions and everything to do with them are considered part of our identity and culture. Since 2008, ingredients and production processes have appeared on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage that the UNESCO recognises, in order to catalogue, preserve and make traditions and customs of exceptional cultural or natural importance known as cultural heritage.
The world’s cuisine, a legacy for all
In 2015, kimchi, a traditional Korean dish made from vegetables (especially cabbage) and wild plants seasoned with spices, fruit, meat, fish or fermented seafood, was added to the list. In 2013, washoku from Japan, a typical year’s end food, where various dishes are prepared with fresh ingredients and decorated, was included. Each of them has a symbolic meaning and they are served on special crockery.
In 2010, Michoacan cuisine from Mexico, which includes basic elements like sweetcorn, beans and chilli peppers, was recognised, in addition to culinary procedures like nixtamalisation and utensils like metates. Although these examples are quite unusual, not only exotic cuisine is included. Other traditions from closer to home also have their place on the list, like, for example, the Mediterranean diet (since 2013) or French gastronomy (since 2010).
Coffee, bread and ingredients
UNESCO has not only granted recognition to meals and dishes but has also focussed its attention on customs associated with food, like coffee, bread and specific ingredients. For example, this year the traditional preparation of Arabic coffee, as a symbol of generosity, was recognised, and in 2013, Turkish coffee also received this classification. In previous years, Slava bread (Serbia), Lavash bread (Armenia) and spiced bread (Croatia) were included. As for ingredients classed as heritage, there’s argan oil (Morocco) and mastic aromatic resin, originating from the island of Chios (Greece).