Get a Taste of These Winners

By / Magazine / December 16th, 2010 / 2

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (otherwise known as UNESCO) has, for the first time, acknowledged that cuisine is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of increasing globalization. To that end, the committee has decided that, for 2010, four gastronomic specialties should be recognized and protected under the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. The traditional cuisines, chosen for 2010 and listed below, are examples of how people express their ancestral, ongoing community culture via cuisine that features traditions, practices and rituals. Food (like dance and other forms of intangible celebration) encourages intercultural dialogue and shared identity. The additions to this year’s list impressed the UNESCO team on all counts.

Most people are familiar with UNESCO’s list of Heritage Sites. (One will be featured in Tidings‘ upcoming February/March issue). Recently, the UNESCO members, who originate from countries around the world, officially acknowledged that history, culture and identity don’t necessarily solely reside in tangible forms, like sculptures, buildings or sites. Sometimes, that which defines a people is best seen in its cuisine. Long-standing traditions revolving around what people eat, how food is prepared, pre- and after-meal rituals are often the most valuable of artifacts. “Being on the intangible list means the host country must promote and protect it exactly as it would a monument like Stonehenge,” said Sue Williams, spokesperson for UNESCO.

The List
Gingerbread craft from Northern Croatia
The gastronomic meal of the French
The Mediterranean diet
Traditional cuisine of Mexico

“The chilies, spices and local ingredients that define Mexican cuisine are as vibrant and varied as the people of Mexico,” says Chef Richard Sandoval. “From the age-old recipes of Mexico’s indigenous groups, to preparations inspired by the conquistadores, the cuisine has evolved with the country and its citizens – you can literally taste Mexico’s heritage in its cooking.  In fact, the constantly evolving flavor of Mexican cuisine inspired my culinary mantra, ‘old ways, new hands.’  As markets grow and kitchens become global, I aspire to uncover the potential of Mexican cuisine by applying modern culinary techniques and incorporating unexpected ingredients.  I’m thrilled that UNESCO recognizes the culture that’s reflected in Mexican cuisine and that we can celebrate this incredible culinary tradition together.”

Each of the countries campaigned for several years before being honoured. How many more can you think of that fit the criteria?

Check outRecipes for great recipes that will show you why these cuisines have made the list.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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