Cebiche recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

UNESCO acknowledges the significance and practices involved in preparing the Andean dish, cebiche, and its relation to sustainable development.

Cebiche, a dish emblematic of several American countries, often sparks the initial question of its correct spelling. The Fundéu, in its urgent draft of doubts, clarifies that “cebiche, ceviche, sebiche, and seviche” are all accepted variations, with “cebiche” being the most commonly used form. Defined by the Royal Spanish Academy as raw fish or seafood cut into small pieces and marinated in lemon or sour orange juice, chopped onion, salt, and chili, cebiche is more than just a culinary delight.

This traditional Peruvian dish has been recognized by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, a decision made during the intergovernmental committee meeting in Kasane, Botswana. This honor not only acknowledges the culinary practice and significance of ceviche but also its direct relation to sustainable development, highlighting artisanal fishing, sustainable lemon production, and its role as a symbol of Peruvian cuisine, social cohesion, and cultural identity.

Cebiche, now a global culinary phenomenon, originated as a Peruvian specialty, traditionally made with raw fish marinated in lemon. Its recipes, however, vary from one region to another. Celebrated Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio, in his book “Ceviche Power” published by Planeta Gastro, presents 44 diverse recipes from the Peruvian coast, celebrating ceviche’s versatility and cultural significance. “To be Peruvian is to celebrate the greatness of ceviche,” he states.

Cebiche recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

For Virgilio Martínez, another renowned Peruvian chef whose Central restaurant in Lima was named the best in the world in 2023, cebiche is more than a dish – it’s a concept. Emphasizing the importance of fresh ingredients and immediate preparation, Martínez highlights the uniqueness of cebiche in Peruvian cuisine in his book ‘Lima, cocina peruana’, published by Neo Person.

Ceviche’s adaptability means that every family and restaurant in Peru has its unique recipe. This versatility has led to its widespread popularity, particularly following the arrival in Spain of Gaston Acurio, who significantly contributed to the international prominence of Peruvian cuisine, especially cebiche. In its canonical form, cebiche typically consists of fish, onion, lemon, and chili, but chefs have continuously innovated, adding fusion and refreshing touches.

The variety of ceviches available in Tenerife is vast, with numerous restaurants offering their unique take on the dish. Some notable ones include Peruvian Qapac in Rosalía Díaz, Los Cristianos; Edtoart Cocina peruana on Calle La Rosa in Santa Cruz; and others like San Sebastián 57, Étereo, and Bejeque in La Laguna.

Ceviche’s journey from a basic recipe to a dish that caters to diverse tastes and preferences reflects its enduring appeal and the creativity of chefs and food enthusiasts striving for the perfect cebiche.

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