Cukerančići: Sweet Biscuits of Pazin Protected as Intangible Cultural Heritage

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One of the most delicious Istrian desserts is now a part of the list of the intangible cultural heritage in Croatia

Pazinski cukerančić, a type of sugar-coated sweet biscuit indigenous to Pazin in Istria, has been inscribed in the list of Croatian intangible cultural heritage, reports Glas Istre on December 2, 2017. A year and a half after the proposal was first turned in to the Ministry of Culture, the Committee for Intangible Cultural Heritage announced that the sweet biscuits of Pazin are now officially part of the list.

To be more precise, it’s the art of preparation of the traditional sweet delicacy that has been protected as heritage, not the biscuits themselves. The City of Pazin should soon receive the official decision of the Ministry, featuring an exact definition of the Pazin cukerančić and detailed specifications on the obligation of preserving the art of its preparation. As a rule, getting inscribed in the list of intangible cultural heritage entails naming the holder of responsibility for the traditional skill that needs to be preserved and taught to future generations through workshops, courses, manifestations, publications and other similar presentational activities.

Cukerančić gets its name after cuker, a term that signifies sugar in local dialect. At first, polemics arose about whether the biscuits should be protected as indigenous to Pazin or to Istria as a whole, so the proposal initiators carried out a field research project that resulted in a conclusion that the biscuits made in Pazin considerably differ to those made in other parts of Istria. In some parts of the region, such as the wider area of Labin in central Istria, this delicacy was never known as an integral part of the traditional local cuisine. According to the research, the biscuits made in Pazin are dipped in Malvazija wine once they are baked, then coated in granulated sugar. In other areas, they are dipped in rakija or other various liqueurs and dusted with powdered sugar. This argument, along with many other elements, confirmed the sugar biscuits from Pazin deserve a title of a traditional culinary product on its own, separate from other regional variations.

The list of protected intangible cultural heritage of Croatia is currently composed of 156 cultural goods, including traditional dances and songs, customs, crafts, local dialects, traditional games and festivals, toponymes, myths, legends, and other types of intangible heritage. Out of the 156, ten items are of Istrian origin, but the Pazin cukerančići stand out as the first Istrian cultural good in the field of traditional gastronomy to get protected on the national level. Congratulations to Pazin!


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