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Last updated at 12:29 GMT, Tuesday, 01 February 2011

Heritage on a plate


19 November 2010

The French dining ritual has been added to Unesco's list of 'intangible heritage of humanity'. The list of 213 cultural traditions from around the world also includes Chinese acupuncture, the Peking Opera and Colombian music.

Christian Fraser

chef preparing food on plates in a kitchen

French dining has been recognised by Unesco


Click to hear the report:


France's submission, which sits alongside Croatian gingerbread and the Azerbaijani carpet, centres mostly around the ritual itself - how wines are paired with dishes, how the table is dressed, the precise placing of glasses for water and wine, knife blade pointing in, fork curved towards the dish, all time-honoured rituals.

One jury member said there was no major reason why France should be rejected, not even President Sarkozy's untimely assertion that when it comes to cooking the French are the best in the world, a statement that enraged the Italians and Spaniards with whom Greece and Mexico are bidding jointly for the honour of Mediterranean diet.

There are no specific French dishes or ingredients in this entry. It centres largely on the fact the French have a tendency to talk endlessly about their food.

Christian Fraser, BBC News, Paris


Click to hear the vocabulary:



application or entry to a competition

centres mostly around

is mainly focussed on

paired with

matched or grouped together with



time-honoured rituals

well-established traditions or ways of doing things


inappropriate or unfortunate in its timing


angered or infuriated


requesting or applying (for something)

have a tendency to

are inclined to


at great length or continually