We already know that pizza is a global treasure. This just confirms it.
Italy has chosen Neapolitan pizza as the country's candidate for the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, according to Italian media, as reported by AFP. I for one can't think of anything more vital to protect.
You probably know UNESCO, which stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, for its World Heritage list, which was established to protect places around the world that have cultural and natural significance. The United States' Yellowstone National Park, Ecuador's Galapagos Islands and France's Palace and Park of Versailles were all early additions to the list.
However, it's not just important to make sure that places around the world are preserved for future generations. There are other crucial aspects of international culture that are in danger of dying out, from traditional music to ceremonies to craftsmanship. That's where the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list comes in.
A committee meets annually to decide what aspects of the cultural heritage of people around the world need to be added to the list so that they don't disappear completely. The UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list is "composed of intangible heritage elements that concerned communities and States Parties consider require urgent measures to keep them alive," according to UNESCO's website.
The Italian National Commission for UNESCO recognized "the art of Neapolitan pizza makers," according to AFP. Naples, a city located in southwestern Italy, has long wanted to maintain its reputation as the birthplace of the best food ever.
The invention of Neapolitan pizza dates back to between 1715 and 1725, according to AFP. However, not all pizza can be considered Neapolitan. There are actually very specific qualifications, so much so that Italy passed a law in 2004 that states Neapolitan pizza has to be round, no more than 14 inches in diameter, no thicker than 0.1 inches in the middle and the crust has to be 0.8 inches thick. There are also only specific flour, yeast, oils, sauces, herbs and cheeses that can be used to make a Neapolitan pizza, whose dough also has to be rolled out manually and cooked in wood-burning ovens that can reach the required temperature of 905 degrees Fahrenheit. The EU also granted Neapolitan pizza special status in 2009.
But the most important distinction Neapolitan pizza will ever win? Our hearts, of course.
Photo: Thomas Duesing | Flickr