I had the opportunity to attend a UNESCO companion event presented on the 14th of November at the Institute Culturel Italien in Paris. This event was a meeting and ‘tasting’ of the Mediterranean dietary nutrition of the world Mediterranean patrimony of UNESCO presented as an adjunct to a roundtable discussion on the topic of the renewal of Pompeii, resulting from activities in the framework of the Special Law on the World Heritage site of Pompeii blah blah blah, right?
Well, even worse this was a special event ‘round table’ as a side event to the General Assembly of States, Parties to the World Heritage Convention.
It all sounds rather stuffy, beyond the interests of us ordinary people, right?
Yet – wait a second – we all have it: ancestry, culture, custom, tradition, right, legacy, bequest, convention, dowry, endowment, patrimony… at times leaning (or even pushing) us toward obligation.
- This event turned out to be a delightful, beautiful evening to learn something new, to appreciate and to celebrate. A pure celebratory experience of Italian food, the Mediterranean diet that I love so much. Chefs from the Italian Mediterranean region of Campania, including but not limited to Amalfi, Capri, Sorrento, Salerno, and Naples, were present to offer their specialities.
- The dietary selections – from appetisers to desserts – were remarkably artful creations born from the simple basics of Mediterranean cuisine: fruits and vegetables, fish, very special tomatoes, olives and olive oil, habitual spices such as parsley, saffron, thyme (most popular in egg, bean and veggie dishes), basil, rosemary, oregano, sage, and za’atar. Herein to think about heritage, I agree with UNESCO that it is our legacy from those who have gone before, those who have lived in the past. It comprises all that we live with today, and it certainly is what we pass on to future generations. Both cultural and natural heritage are irreplaceable treasures of life and inspiration.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity (this means each and every single one of us).
Heritage is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
UNESCO’s World Heritage mission is to encourage countries to participate in the World Heritage Convention, to support the protection of their natural and cultural heritage, and to nominate for inclusion on the World Heritage List sites within their national territory.
UNESCO encourages States Parties to manage and report on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites, and provides technical assistance and professional training towards this purpose.
UNESCO safeguards World Heritage properties with emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger and supports public awareness activities to promote World Heritage conservation.
In the end, it is all about environment and food! Enjoy the holidays.
Celebration of the chefs!