Mexican Cuisine Added to UNESCO Cultural Heritage List

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When travelers think of UNESCO, they generally associate the organization with its remarkable list of World Heritage Sites. Many of the world’s most incredible historical monuments and natural attractions are on UNESCO’s famous list, from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to the Great Wall of China.

But since 2003, UNESCO has been working on recognizing the less tangible elements of culture that need to be safeguarded and promoted just as much as the celebrated monuments. They call this new list the Intangible Heritage List. As UNESCO explains, intangible cultural heritage is "a living form of heritage which is continuously recreated and which evolves as we adapt our practices and traditions in response to our environment. It provides a sense of identity and belonging in relation to our own cultures."

Intangible heritage includes traditions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts. And recently, the list has evolved to include world cuisines.

In November 2010, Mexican Cuisine became the newest addition to UNESCO’s intangible heritage list. The country’s traditional cuisine has evolved from an ancient system of collective participation in the entire food chain, from planting and harvesting to cooking and communal customs surrounding eating. It is a mix of pre-Hispanic traditions, colonial influences and modern creativity.

In honour of this recent global recognition of his country’s cuisine, Jonas, one of our guides in Mexico City, has designed a Mexico City Food Tour. The tour is for adventurous palates, and those wanting to experience Mexico’s living heritage with a local to guide them. On Jonas’ tour, you can taste traditional sweets, learn to appreciate the distinction between tequila and mescal, and even try some pre-hispanic food platters, from a quesadilla with special herbs to flowers and even insects.

If you’re interested in experiencing the “intangible cultural heritage” that is Mexican cuisine, consider letting a local give you the most authentic experience possible with a Mexico City Tasting Tour.
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