Festa della bagna caöda

Festa della Bagna Caöda in Faule

It was only last month that we were in Piemonte for the cheese fair in Bra, so it felt very much like déjà vu when we visited again this past weekend. The region continues to call our name whether it be for food fairs, festivals or gastronomic meals, but the event that has eluded us until now is that which celebrates one of Piemonte’s most famous and traditional of dishes: the bagna cauda.

Oh dear, was that a collective moan of hunger pangs I just heard? Italian foodophiles will know what this dish is, but for the record and for those who may have never heard of it, bagna cauda or bagna caöda is literally translated as “hot bath” and pronounced bah-n’yah cow-dah. I think of it as the Holy Trinity of sauces where a marriage of garlic, anchovies and olive oil turns an array of raw and cooked produce into a smorgasbord of dipping heaven.

17th Festa della Bagna Caöda

Faule (province of Cuneo) – the festa is held in mid-October for 5 nights in a row. Service is cafeteria-style where you select dishes as you go and pay at the end of the line. We took 2 orders of bagna cauda (10€ each), a bottle of Dolcetto (7€), and made ourselves comfortable in the very large covered dining tent. There were A LOT of families on a Friday night, some who also brought along extra vegetables of their own to supplement the boiled potatoes, baked onions, raw leeks, raw cabbage and roasted bell peppers included in the dish. Other menu items included the usual plate of cured meats, french fries and homestyle desserts.

Things that make you go mmmmmh!

It was interesting to note that Faule’s bagna caöda included cream as an ingredient and there’s a glimpse of a how it’s made here (italian). Lighter in garlic flavor although there was no mistaking the anchovies, the sauce had a velvety texture, almost as if processed with an immersion blender. We had a GREAT time even if the weather wasn’t the best with all the rain, and look forward to perhaps attending next year. The scheduled dates for 2014 will be October 10-14 with dinner starting at 7pm.

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8 thoughts on “Festa della bagna caöda

    1. Rowena Post author

      And here I go googling for bagna cauda fetes in Provence! Even if I don’t find any, a proper fete is still on my to-do list since we missed the lavender ones by a weekend when we were there.

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  1. Anonymous

    Now I know that the best time to catch all the yummy sagre in Piemonte is in the Fall. Thank you, I will bookmark these for sure:-)

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  2. tesorotreasures

    I loved the video!!!! Thanks for posting it – it felt like I was standing in Italy talking to all the relatives 🙂 I have to try making this recipe…it looks delicious! I think I may have had it once at one of my parents’ Piemontese friends house! My parents really never made this ( as they are from Lombardia). It’s so funny how, especially years ago when my parents were young, provincial signature dishes really didn’t leave the region – no matter how close they were! Imagine this, but my parents never had pizza growing up! They didn’t have any until they came to SF!! How funny is that! Now of course, pizza is everywhere!
    So, I will try this recipe on a cold winter night, but not sure if I’ll add the cream. What do you think? Did you try it both ways? Which was better? And…did you smell like garlic afterwards?

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    1. Rowena Post author

      I remember mentioning this dish to my mother-in-law (my inlaws live in the Milano province), and was surprised that she didn’t know of it. My husband came to like this dish when he lived for a spell in Torino. It is so true how provincial dishes tend to stay in the region, and that is why Lombardia is last on my list when I’m sagra-hunting.

      We’ve had bagna cauda at a friend’s before and it was potent, so I can say with utmost certainty that every recipe will differ according to the cook’s taste. I enjoyed the one at this sagra because it was gentler in garlic flavor and I didn’t notice that much of a smell afterwards. There’s another version that uses pureed jerusalem artichokes, walnuts and chile pepper….will have to try that one out!

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