France's Baguette Just Earned A Spot On UNESCO Cultural Heritage List

Is there any limit to the culinary delights offered up by French cuisine? From hearty, wine-stewed boeuf bourguignon to summery Provençal ratatouille to cheese crouton-topped French onion soup, ancient, storied French food is popular around the globe. And if there's one French food that really stands out among all its delicious counterparts, it could quite possibly be the baguette, that long, narrow, crusty loaf of white bread that's such an essential component to so many French dishes.

French identity is so closely tied to this beloved staple bread that the national government is actually fairly involved with it. For many, many years, the price of a baguette was federally regulated (via France24), and baguettes still have to meet government standards when it comes to their length, width, and the ingredients used — wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast only (via Renestance). Given the importance of the baguette to French life, it perhaps comes as no surprise that the long bread was just recognized by UNESCO, the UN's cultural body.

The baguette joins foods such as Belgian beer and Neapolitan pizza on a list of UNESCO-recognized foods

Anyone who's ever crunched into a shatteringly crisp-on-the-outside, perfectly chewy-on-the-inside baguette knows how absolutely delicious these yeasty creations can be. The base for a classic ham and butter sandwich, the perfect vehicle for runny French cheeses such as brie, or delightful torn apart as-is while still warm, the bread — which has long been beloved by the French as well as around the world — has now been recognized by UNESCO. Citing the baguette's "artisanal know-how and culture" on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the UN's cultural body today added the bread to other foods on that list, such as Arabic coffee and Korean kimchi (via CNN).

Typically, UNESCO recognizes physical cultural sites, such as China's Great Wall and Philadelphia's Independence Hall, but since 2003, it has also nodded towards "intangible" important cultural practices such as the Japanese ritual dance furyu-odori and Finnish fiddle playing (via UNESCO). The countries who want to be recognized for their practices have to apply, according to CNN, and the outlet cites that France's supporting documentation took a full six years to collect before the baguette joined the list.

"The baguette is a daily ritual, a structuring element of the meal, synonymous with sharing and conviviality," UNESCO chief Audrey Asoulay told the BBC of the organization's decision. "It is important that these skills and social habits continue to exist in the future."