A delegation from UNESCO visited, on 9 July, the Historic Building of the UB to see first-hand the manuscript of the Llibre de Sent Soví,which is preserved in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The 14th-century book, written in Catalan, is the first known recipe book on Catalan cuisine and one of the oldest in Europe written in a language other than Latin.
With this event, the UB has shown its support for the campaign Cuina Catalana Patrimoni de la Humanitat: Candidatura UNESCO 2013, whose objective is to add Catalan cuisine to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The campaign is promoted by the Catalan Culinary Institute (FICCG) with the collaboration of the Government of Catalonia, together with other organisations and entities.
The delegation from UNESCO, headed by Cécile Duvelle, Chief of Intangible Cultural Heritage Section, has been received by the Rector of the UB, Dr. Dídac Ramírez, and the director of the Catalan Institute of Vines and Wine (INCAVI), Jordi Bort. The event has also been attended by representatives of other organisations that support the campaign, such as María Domingo, Assistant Director of the Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport; Lluís Puig, Director of Popular and Traditional Culture from the Government of Catalonia; Miquel Àngel Essomba, Director of the UNESCO Centre of Catalonia, and Pepa Aymamí, Director of FICCG, among others. Also participating in the event were, on behalf of the UB, Gaspar Rosselló, Vice-Rector for Academic Policy and Quality; Carina Rey, Rector’s Delegate Commissioner and Institutional Respresentative of the Learning and Research Resource Centre (CRAI); Adelaida Ferrer, Director of CRAI, and Jesús Contreras, Professor of Anthropology of Food and member of the scientific committee of the candidature.
The event also included a guided tour around Grewe’s bibliographic collection, a valuable book collection on food and gastronomy that was founded in 1997, with the legacy of the cookery library of Rudolf Grewe, expert in gastronomy and food studies. The Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the Historic Building is home to 129 ancient books dating from the 16th century until 1820. During the visit, the manuscript of the Llibre de Sent Soví could be seen, which is an anonymous recipe book written in Catalan in the 14th century. This book proves that Catalan cuisine has a universal and well-documented history, which is an important element of the candidature that will be presented at the UNESCO with the aim to add Catalan cuisine to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The FICCG has long been working so that traditional Catalan cuisine can be awarded this recognition. This campaign is a national project that aims to bring together all the initiatives carried out in Catalonia, so that the population can be aware of the rich culinary heritage. Catalan cuisine is admired all over the world because of generous doses of innovation it has incorporated while still retaining the identity conferred by so many years of tradition.
The UB lends its support to the campaign Cuina Catalana Patrimoni de la Humanitat: UNESCO 2013. This act of support is related to the actions that the UB’s Sent Soví Chair carries out.
The Sent Soví Chair on Food and Mediterranean Cuisine, aimed at teaching and research staff, is taught at the UB with the collaboration of different private organisations. It was founded in 1997 at the initiative of the FICCG and it mainly aims to assemble the restaurant industry and the university, and promote research and its dissemination.
The FICCG is a non-profit private foundation that has an interdisciplinary and interuniversity research team who works to carry out research, promote and disseminate Catalan gastronomic heritage. The main objective is to jointly protect the variety and richness of products that characterise the Catalan cuisine.