IF the cultural identity of a country is wrapped up in its food, it’s fair to say tapas represent more than just a pre-dinner snack. Indeed, it could be argued that they are an integral part of Spanish culture.
Now, Spain has asked United Nations cultural organisation UNESCO to acknowledge tapas as an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’.
Rafael Anson, president of the Royal Academy of Gastronomy, made the announcement on Thursday April 15.
“Tapas are the very model of food,” he said, before adding: “The project is very advanced. The Ministry of Culture will make a formal presentation but I have spoken to UNESCO and they are already looking into it.”
The Intangible Cultural Heritage list also includes gems such as coaxing rituals for camels in Mongolia and male-child cleansing in Uganda, while Spanish customs currently appearing on the list include flamenco and the mystery play of Elche. Italy are hoping that ‘the art of Neapolitan pizza making’ will also make the list this year.
“Pizza in itself is not intangible,” Anson said in an interview with radio station Cadena Sur, “but the concept of the Mediterranean diet, for example, is.”
“Tapas, too, are a way of eating.”