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A BAGNA CALDA FEST
Obester's By The Sea
January 2003


Paul & Sandy Obester graciously hosted another West Coast version of the Piemontese "Bagna Calda" (or "Bagna Cauda" if you prefer), a "hot bath" of mega-quantities of garlic, olive oil, anchovies and a bit of butter.

In this "fondue" one dips all sorts of veggies.  The West Coast version includes non-traditional items such as slices of beef and prawns, along with the customary cardoons, Brussels sprouts, carrots, chard, broccoli and just about anything else you've got growing in the winter garden.

We started with bubbly and some nibbles.


Lucy Tolmach and Marjorie Martin.



Carmen, Jonathan and host Paul Obester.

Meanwhile, the kitchen features a bountiful crop!


Here you can, perhaps, see these are California Carrots: they're hugging!







Baker Jesper Jensen brought a few baguettes to augment Paul's efforts as well as Jonathan's.
You can't have too much bread as you need something to sop up the olive oil and its flavorful "sediment" of garlic and anchovies.


The table is set!
A number of electric burners allow for the "community" Bagna pots, while authentic Piemontese "ceramic" pots, fueled by two or three tea-light candles allow "bathers" to have their own person "bagna."


The breads are amazing!


Sandy starts filling the community Bagna pots

.

There is a wide variety of wines, too.  Mostly Italian.
A set of old Gemello wines is awaiting the thirsty crowd, too.


Sandy's Uncle Mario Gemello was a fabulous winemaker, producing incredible Cabernets, Zinfandels and Barbera wines.


Alexia is especially thrilled with the plate of raw garlic being passed around, enjoying the idea of gilding the lily.


Herdis Jensen of Pandrup, Denmark and her famous flying baker son Jesper Jensen.


Soon-to-be-Famous Musician Spencer Cliff and Marjorie Martin are quite busy with all the victuals.


Carmen holds up one of his favorite wines of the evening, Sportoletti's "Villa Fidelia" Rosso.


Meanwhile, Amy Fitz-Jensen's wine glass is nearly empty, a rather common occurrence.


The small tea-light candles work nicely to fuel the boiling of the bagna!


I am unable to detect whether it's the vino or the garlic that is having its effect on the revelers!


Kathy and the famous Henry! Moore are looking for more bread, wine and veggies.




An "antidote": Moscato d'Asti.


Paul and Sandy prepared a lemon tart to go with their lemon sorbet!


I think the sorbet was lacking garlic, the only food of the evening in the "garlic free" category.  But I am not entirely certain.




Lucy is wondering why the dessert doesn't taste like garlic!




Herdis takes a seat near the fire place, while Jonathan explains Einstein's Theory of Relativity to Paul Obester.


Carmen demonstrates one of his patented "Yes, you're right, dear's" in both Italian and English.


A couple of "old dawgs."


We knew it was getting late when Paul engaged his pooch "Tiger" in the late-evening game of "Who's Your Daddy?" which sees Tiger lick the garlic off of Paul's face.

What a great Fest!!!



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PAUL & HENRY'S 62ND BIRTHDAY DINNER

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