Austrian desserts vie for world heritage status

Austrian desserts vie for world heritage status
Could Tyrol's 'white Sachertorte' be ranked alongside its better known rival from the east? Photo: APA/Robert Jaeger
Austria wants its famed cake and pastry culture to be included on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

"Pastries are as synonymous with Austria as the mountains and the Viennese Waltz," Alfred Fiedler, chairman of the Friends of Austrian Pastry Culture, said at a press conference in Linz.

Famous desserts such as Sachertorte and Kaiserschmarrn (a shredded pancake dish) are already recognised, but this is not enough, and fails to represent the breadth of Austria’s sweet treats, Fiedler added.

The plan is to create a nationwide registry of Austrian desserts which will only include dishes which have a long tradition – so no brownies or American doughnuts.

“That would be like putting a burger alongside a Wiener Schnitzel,” Upper Austrian restaurateur Robert Seeber said.

A recent survey from the IMAS institute showed that 86 percent of Austrians listed Sachertorte as their favourite dessert, closely followed by Kaiserschmarrn. Fiedler wants to bring lesser known desserts back into the public's hearts. 

The Friends of Austrian Pastry Culture includes industry representatives from catering, bakery and confectionery, as well as representatives from federal and state governments.

"Honorary Ambassadors" include Economics Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner, President of the Austrian Economic Chamber Christoph Leitl and Upper Austrian Governor Josef Pühringer who said: "I realise every morning when I weigh myself that I must be a friend of pastry culture."

UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage focusses on living traditions such as dance, music, theatre and craftsmanship.

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