(inscribed in 2015 in the German Register of Best Safeguarding Practices of Intangible Cultural Heritage)
Upper Franconia offers a multitude of culinary specialties, frequently relating to carefully preserved customs and their creative further development. The culinary identity is not only a part of history, but also to this day a part of the identity of the people. The knowledge of the creation, preparation, recipes, customs and interrelationships of different customs in regard to these specialties has been transmitted for centuries from generation to generation in the tradition-conscious crafts sector and hotel industries, in agriculture, and also in families residing for many generations in this region. The association "Genussregion Oberfranken” (Region of Delight Upper Franconia) and the Chamber of Commerce of Upper Franconia have initiated the first comprehensive documentation of this cultural heritage. Within the scope of a campaign supported by funding from the European Community, research about food which is produced according to traditional recipes is being carried out and is compiled in text and pictures in a database, including information about regional raw materials, special animal and plant species as well as the interrelationships of recipes and particular customs. In addition, numerous notes describe when and where these specialties are produced and sold, where these can be found (festivals, tastings, sensory seminars, guided tours, etc.) or where one can learn how to prepare them.
The association "Genussregion Oberfranken" plays a substantial role in preserving, passing on and keeping alive the diverse regional specialties in Upper Franconia. With its broad range of activities, it contributes to a new perception and appreciation of the culinary heritage and to actively conveying knowledge regarding food production and preparation, customs and the interrelationships between different customs. The Internet platform succeeded in being a basis for a very active network of different players with knowledge relating to traditional regional knowledge about the diversity and quality of regional specialties and in raising awareness among the population that Upper Franconia represents a unique, high-quality culinary region. The fact that, in relation to the number of residents, this region has the most bakeries, butchers and breweries in the world underscores the economic sustainability. The regional population perceives the special character of the region as a feature strengthening cultural identity. With the active help of the citizens, a comprehensive documentation of regional specialties could be created and is accessible in a database. This is a remarkable and successful example of dealing with intangible cultural heritage. In the sense of the UNESCO Convention, this represents a regional, thematically focused inventorying with the purpose of creating awareness and implementing different safeguarding measures. The intensive use of the database with approximately 500,000 accesses per month clearly indicates the great interest of the public in this cultural heritage. The experience events of the association "Region of Delight Upper Franconia" further contribute to this.
This example impressively shows how a return to regional foods can be promoted in a socio-economical context in industrially oriented societies in the sense of sustainable (ecological, economic, social and cultural) development. The project, which is also monitored scientifically, can serve as an example for other regions to intensively reflect upon the culture, diversity and quality of regional specialties.
Association "Genussregion Oberfranken"
Managing Director Dr. Bernd Sauer