When it comes to Spanish food, tapas is perhaps the way of eating that carries its reputation across the world.
Consisting of small plates of food traditionally served on top of a cold beverage, tapas is intended to provide a nibble while protecting the drink from flies and insects.
But now the president of the Royal Academy of Gastronomy of Spain, Rafael Anson, is calling for UNESCO to declare the humble tapas an intangible cultural heritage.
Anson told Spanish radio broadcaster Cadena Ser on April 14 that ‘Tapas are the very model of food’ according to The Local.
He said: ‘Pizza in itself is not intangible, but the concept of the Mediterranean diet, for example, is.
‘Tapas, too, are a way of eating.’
Anson added that the Spanish Ministry of Culture will make a formal presentation for tapas to be included but UNESCO is said to be ‘already looking into it’.
In order for tapas to be considered, it will have to fit a number of criterion, including that its cultural heritage status will contribute towards its visibility and awareness as well as its protection.
These will need to be included in the presentation alongside a formal definition of tapas.
However, in the Basque country and Navarre in northern Spain, there’s also a style food food similar to tapas called pintxos.
These small plate dishes are typically served skewered on toothpicks.
It’s not clear whether these will also be included in the official presentation to Unesco.
Spain currently has 15 items on Unesco‘s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, which includes fiesta of the patios in Cordova, Chant of the Sybil on Majorca and Silbo Gomero, the whistled language of the island of La Gomera (Canary Islands).
Alongside Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Morocco and Portugal, it’s also one of the countries where the Mediterranean diet is considered an intangible cultural heritage.