Pizza and more: the 8 foods recognized by UNESCO as intangible heritage of humanity

Foods recognized by UNESCO.

By Cookist


Mexican cuisine

In 2005, Mexico was the first country in the world to nominate its kitchen as intangible heritage of humanity. Why? According to the delegation that exposed its international uniqueness, while elsewhere "the kitchen is only a story of food and pots, here it is chronology, memory, religions and the roots of a whole people". And they were right, considering that the tortillas, the famous savory pastry of white corn flour, have been made in this state of South America for nine thousand years. The recognition then arrived in 2010. Since then all the local dishes, characterized by their variety of flavors and colors, and the combination of different spices and unique ingredients, mainly based on corn, beans and chilli, are considered treasure of humanity.

Mediterranean diet


Since 2010, the Mediterranean diet has been declared intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO, recognized in the whole world for its excellence. Considered by scientists among the healthiest lifestyles on the planet, it is based on a rich and balanced diet of foods, including cereals, vegetables and fruit, olive oil and legumes, and to a lesser extent fish, meat and cheese. But this diet is also considered valuable because it has created a common identity with cultures that are distant from each other, such as the Spanish one, Italian one, Greek one and Moroccan one, but united by the Mediterranean Sea that bathes the coasts of their respective countries, creating a favorable environment for the birth and development of animal and vegetable species that form the basis of the nutrition of local populations.

Turkish Keskek

The keskek, intangible heritage of humanity since 2011, is a typical Turkish dish served on special occasions, such as weddings and other religious ceremonies, based on meat and wheat worked, by men and women together, in large pots. It is precisely the preparation to constitute a cultural unicum, since it is carried out to the sound of drums and while prayers are recited, and it is ended with a real ritual in which the whole crowd of banquet participants takes part. The tradition of this ancient recipe is handed down from generation to generation and safeguarded by the whole population.

French cuisine


Not a dish but all the food and cultural style it represents, French cuisine has been declared intangible heritage of humanity in 2011. On the other hand, experts pointed this out during the awards ceremony: "The meal becomes a social practice destined to celebrate the most important moments of life, births, weddings, anniversaries", in which good eating and being together are accompanied, as in a traditional ritual, by the careful choice of wines, by the significant gestures of tasting and even by the elegance with which the table is set. However be careful because, to be truly "French", the gastronomic lunch according to UNESCO must respect a very precise scheme, that is to start with the aperitif and end with a digestive, in addition to include at least four dishes, that are an entrée, a dish of fish or meat with vegetables, cheese and dessert.

Japanese washoku

Washoku is the word used to indicate Japanese cuisine, or rather the harmony of the food of this Far Eastern country, another intangible heritage of humanity recognized by UNESCO in 2013, representing over four hundred years of culinary tradition based on the goodness of the ingredients, on the aesthetic value of the dish and on the rituality of the meal. Among the fundamental characteristics of these dishes, there is above all the respect for nature and the alternation of the seasons to infuse recipes with maximum flavor and fragrance. The Washoku also includes processing techniques aimed at preserving and enhancing the products, primarily rice, which is the defining element of this millenary cuisine.

Kimchi of South Korea


The kimjang, the tradition of preparing and consuming the so-called kimchi that begins with winter throughout the Korean peninsula, is an "intangible heritage of humanity" that must be preserved, because "it has passed generations and represents the community spirit of the Koreans. It is part of their identity". With this motivation, in 2013 this typical South Korean dish, based on macerated and spicy cabbage, became part of the list of humanity's treasures. For many centuries the realization of this recipe, through a long process of maceration of the ingredients, was fundamental for the local people, given that in the coldest months of the year there was no possibility of finding fresh vegetables. Moreover, the family and the whole community participate in the preparation ceremony, representing an important cultural and social moment, as well as a strictly gastronomic one.

Belgian beer

Belgian beer has become intangible heritage of humanity in 2017. According to UNESCO experts, this tradition, made among the others by Gueuze, Lambic and Blanche, deserves to be included in the representative list of the best of the immaterial culture of the peoples because, in a single jug, all the traditions inherited from the brewing ancestors and still practiced are preserved, thanks to the transmission of the preparation secrets from generation to generation. The Belgian blondes are divided into three large families: the Ale, high fermentation, the Lambic, with spontaneous fermentation, and the Lager, with low fermentation, reflecting the same number of souls of the local population who dedicated real museums to them to celebrate this centuries-old art.

Every dish has a story
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