Gastronomic meal of the French
Inscribed in 2010 (5.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Gastronomic meal of the French
- © Isabelle Guisard, Château de Bourron-Marlotte, 2008
The gastronomic meal of the French is a customary social practice for celebrating important moments in the lives of individuals and groups, such as births, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, achievements and reunions. It is a festive meal bringing people together for an occasion to enjoy the art of good eating and drinking. The gastronomic meal emphasizes togetherness, the pleasure of taste, and the balance between human beings and the products of nature. Important elements include the careful selection of dishes from a constantly growing repertoire of recipes; the purchase of good, preferably local products whose flavours go well together; the pairing of food with wine; the setting of a beautiful table; and specific actions during consumption, such as smelling and tasting items at the table. The gastronomic meal should respect a fixed structure, commencing with an apéritif (drinks before the meal) and ending with liqueurs, containing in between at least four successive courses, namely a starter, fish and/or meat with vegetables, cheese and dessert. Individuals called gastronomes who possess deep knowledge of the tradition and preserve its memory watch over the living practice of the rites, thus contributing to their oral and/or written transmission, in particular to younger generations. The gastronomic meal draws circles of family and friends closer together and, more generally, strengthens social ties.
Decision 5.COM 6.14
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: The gastronomic meal of the French plays an active social role within its community and is transmitted from generation to generation as part of its identity;
- R.2: Its inscription on the Representative List could contribute to greater visibility for intangible cultural heritage, as a catalyst for mutual respect and intercultural dialogue;
- R.3: Safeguarding measures reflect the commitments of the community, the French authorities and NGOs to reinforce its transmission, particularly through the education system, while encouraging research and promotion;
- R.4: The nomination has been submitted following active and broad participation of communities throughout the country in meetings, debates and surveys, and many institutions and associations gave their free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: The gastronomic meal of the French is inscribed in the inventory of intangible cultural heritage of France, established by the Mission of Ethnology of the Ministry of Culture.
© MFPCA 2009
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