The new French President has stepped into the middle of a new fight over an intangible — in this case, food. As the Times of London reports Nicolas Sarkozy loses his cool over French food:
The right way to make mayonnaise, cheese soufflé and foie gras will be protected by the UN if President Sarkozy’s latest ploy wins approval (writes Charles Bremner in Paris).
The French leader wants la cuisine française to be listed by Unesco, the UN agency, as part of the world’s cultural heritage.
At the opening of the annual Paris Agriculture Show, Mr Sarkozy said: “We have the best gastronomy in the world — at least from our point of view. We want it to be recognised among world heritage.”
Mr Sarkozy’s gesture in response to a two-year campaign by a group of leading chefs — who fear French cuisine is under threat from modern life and the global food industry — raised eyebrows because it stretches the meaning of a UN project to protect traditions in the developing world.
But, according to the Financial Times, this has not gone down well with everyone – France stirs food fight with Italy:
France’s campaign to put its cuisine on the United Nations’ world heritage list has sparked a transalpine war of words with Italy.
Italian farmers spurned President Nicolas Sarkozy’s proposal over the weekend that France should become the first country to have its cuisine recognised as an “intangible” cultural treasure.
“With 166 food specialities recognised by the European Union, Italy clearly beats France, in second place with 156,” Coldiretti, the Italian farmers’ association, told Reuters.
I really think that says it all.