Tunisia has submitted an application for its famous harissa pepper to be included on UNESCO’s representative list of intangible cultural heritage, as it seeks broader recognition for the culinary staple.
The application, officially titled “The Harissa: know-how and culinary and social practices” was delivered to UNESCO’s Paris headquarters by Tunisia’s delegate to the organisation Ghazi Ghrairi, the country’s official press agency TAP reported.
Ghrairi told TAP that a UNESCO representative who heads the cultural heritage department was impressed with the quality of the Tunisian application and appreciated the initiative.
Fawzi Mahfoudh, director general of Tunisia’s National Heritage Institute (INP), said the file was put together by a team of hard-working experts and researchers with the support of civil society groups, particularly the Grouping of Food Canning Industries (GICA).
Tunisian Harissa is a spicy chilli pepper paste made of a unique blend of roasted red peppers and local herbs and spices. Often described as “the national condiment of Tunisia,” it is used to spice or accompany a wide range of dishes throughout the country. Tunisia is also the world’s largest exporter of the paste, sending out tens of thousands of tonnes per year.
UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage recognises 508 elements of some 122 countries, with the aim of promoting their cultural significance and ensuring their protection.