Bagna Calda (Cauda)
Casa di Obester
Our Piemontese friends routinely serve a winter-time
"fondue" of Garlic, Anchovies and Olive Oil. While their version
features garlic cooked first in milk (that's for wusses), the Bay Area version
features copious quantities of garlic and anchovies.
This year Paul was the Garlic King and Sandy the Queen of the Anchovies.
Many of the veggies were cultivated by Jonathan & Lucy. Breads were
all home-baked, either in the Obester Ovens or Tolmach B&B (Brewing and
Paul just has installed a new oven, especially for breads.
Here's a photo of the pot of the Bagna mixture. Paul says he figured on
one head of garlic per person, plus one extra, just for good measure (this is
why it is suggested participants wear old clothes...the fragrance of this meal
permeates one's clothes!).
The bread bakers had been busy, preparing a
variety of good breads.
The "sediment" from the Bagna, a rich and flavorful mix of garlic and
anchovies, is soaked up by good bread.
These were damned good, I can tell you!
Here's the table. Some of us like to use little "personal" bagna
pots, called "ceramiche" by the Italians. A couple of tea
candles set underneath the bowl, which you then light. The bowl is filled
with hot bagna and you load it up with a variety of veggies.
Cardoons (cardone) are a staple of a good Bagna.
These are a fibrous, thread-filled, celery-like stalk and we typically use a
vegetable peeler to get down to the main part of the cardoon. Most of the
group prefers this 'raw', though one of two seem to prefer the cardoons
We always have a wide variety of raw veggies, starting with cardoons, mushrooms,
asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, fennel, artichokes, endive, snap peas, cherry
Much to the horror of our Piemontese friends,
you can add a platter of thinly-sliced beef or some raw prawns.
A wide variety of wines is circulated. This year's star of the wine show
was a 1999 Vietti "Scarrone" Barbera d'Alba.
Marjorie found this to be quite good.
Bob discovered others had finished the bottle.
Not to worry, though....there were about 15 bottles on the table.
Jonathan dives in for some more Bagna...
There are several "community" pots heating along the table.
These are in addition to the various personal "ceramiche" which
are in use, too.
Much fun is had by all.
Pretty much you can tell when it's time to leave the table when Paul starts
asking his dawg Tiger, "Who's your daddy?"
A great time was had by all!
Especially those of us who didn't have to stay and clean up the mess!
Thanks to Sandy and Paul!
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