The Conseil National des Arts Culinaires (CNAC) was established by the French government in 1989 to promote and disseminate French culinary heritage. The organization found early support among many of France’s leading chefs. In fact Michel Guérard was the first president and was succeeded by Alain Senderens.
Though the Conseil was disbanded after questionable management came to light in 1999, they did achieve something quite spectacular in publishing L’Inventaire du Patrimoine Culinaire de la France—or an inventory of the culinary heritage of France—a series of books dedicated to documenting the local culinary traditions of the French provinces and territories.
Issued in 24 volumes between 1993 and 2012 by publisher Albin Michel (the final three were completed with local government support after CNAC’s dissolution), L’Inventaire covers in astonishing detail the history, dishes, ingredients, and beverages distinct to each region. Though predominantly reference material, recipes are also included in each book, as well.
The regions covered are:
The books are, naturellement, in French. Our copies are all Near Fine and unused, some spines light-faded and an occasional minor ding to the case. Hardcover and flexibind issued without dust jacket, each 5 ½” x 8 ½.”
We have not seen French regional and territorial coverage at this depth before or since. A serious scholar will certainly find the series invaluable.