Since joining the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Intangible Cultural Heritage commission in 2013, Germany has been narrowing down ideas on which pieces of German culture it believes should be considered for the recognition. Late last year we reported the push to get the country’s famous beer purity law added to the list, but one of the latest hopefuls is now Germany’s iconic breads.
More than 3,000 bread recipes were offered up to show just how diverse the German bread market is. Many would say that the various breads are responsible for shaping Germany’s culture, and thanks to the country’s climate, just about any grain can be easily grown to make up such a diverse selection.
UNESCO spokesperson Dieter Offenhäusser understands the cultural influence of Germany’s breads and stated “You can tell that German bread is excellent and enjoys a respectable reputation even in foreign countries because good bakeries around the world are called ‘German bakeries.”’
The UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage classification has been around since 2003 and items can range from individual customs, dances, food, etc, that represents a living part of a country’s culture. There are currently 281 items on the list, and Germany is hoping to offer 30 to 50 cultural candidates to be considered. It won’t be until 2016, at the earliest, that Germany can hope to see any of their options recognized though.
With 300-500 traditional German bakeries going out of business each year due to cheaper mass-produced breads flooding the market, bakers are hoping that recieving UNESCO recognition will draw back lost customers.