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09.30  The Protection of Andean Food and Foodways as Intangible Cultural Heritage, Especially in Peru

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9:00, Sunday 5 Jun 2016 (30 minutes)

Peruvian cuisine is the fusion of culinary traditions of ancient Peru with Spanish cuisine, which is strongly influenced by the 762 years of Moorish presence in the Iberian Peninsula, and important contribution of culinary customs brought from the Atlantic coast of Sub-Saharan Africa by slaves. Thereafter, the mixing was influenced by the culinary uses and traditions of French chefs who fled the Revolution in their country to settle in Peru. Equally crucial was the influence of immigration of the nineteenth century, which included Cantonese, Chinese, Japanese, and Italian, among other mainly European origins.The wide variety of Peruvian cuisine is also based on agro-biodiversity (climate diversity), the mixture of cultures (culture diversity) and the adaptation of ancient cultures to modern kitchen.

In 2007 Peruvian cuisine was proclaimed cultural heritage of the Peruvian nation; this declaration states that Peruvian cuisine is a cultural expression that contributes “to consolidate the identity of Peru.” Prior to this declaration, other elements of Peruvian cuisine were declared cultural heritage of the nation: Pisco (1983), Pachamanca (2003), Ceviche (2004), Pisco sour (2007).

This paper will analyze the Peruvian experience in registering and safeguarding, as intangible cultural heritage, food-related elements and the consequences that this recognition has had until now. It will study the main concepts and instruments developed by Peru on intangible cultural heritage, but also how they are contradicted by current unchanged policy priorities.

Due to the reputation Peruvian food has attained in the last years (principally by private initiatives) as an innovative way of promoting agro-biodiversity, cultural diversity, local agricultural systems, and traditional foodways, the paper will also discuss if it is possible and convenient to protect and safeguard the traditions and practices of the Peruvian cuisine through the registration on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list to support such alternative to an economic model based since 500 years on “extractivismo” (mining, oil from the Amazon, and now increasingly agro-business).

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