When something has the Unesco pin attached to its lapel, you know it's worth seeing. You go to Paris, you see Notre Dame - rightfully awarded because it's amazing to look at and historically inspiring. Plus the Unesco tag gives you that rest-easy warm glow of knowing that magnificent buildings aren't going to get churned into a swathe of charmless apartments any time soon.
But next time you go to France, don't be surprised if you find a little Unesco flag on a toothpick staked into your coq au vin, because French gastronomy has now been officially added to Unesco's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.
In 2001, Unesco declared that living traditions - age-old and destination-specific things like Georgian polyphonic singing or Spanish flamenco dancing or a particular handicraft - deserved the same protection as natural and cultural treasures. Once a living tradition is added to the list, steps are then taken by Unesco and others to protect and promote their use and understanding.
Unesco's reasoning for choosing French gastronomy was because it is a 'social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups'. The success of the listing is the result of 'a long campaign by a group of leading chefs who fear French cuisine is under threat from modern life and the global food industry', says the BBC's Christian Fraser in Paris. France's submission did not simply revolve around particular dishes but the dining ritual itself: wine-matching, table dressing, the placement of glasses and cutlery. If you've ever dined in France, you'll understand how that added care and thought takes the whole experience beyond a simple meal and into the 'memorable moment' territory.
Other additions to the list this year include traditional Mexican food and the huaconada, a traditional dance of the Mito people in the Peruvian Andes.
In this age of Warholian fame-bites and a never-ending Escher-esque spiral of reality TV stars getting spin-off shows, actually protecting genuine tradition gives me a lot of hope for things lasting longer than a new iPhone version. So what do you think should be protected? Your favourite busker? Your nutty local theatre group? (Personally, I'd vote for my mum's Yorkshire Pudding.) Whatever makes it, at least we can all sleep easy knowing that, as long as we live, there'll be no messing with fine French je ne sais quoi.