(These photos were taken without flash in order to preserve the buoyant, dreamy vibe of the evening.)
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Last night we attended an incredible dinner party hosted by some dear friends of ours, Jason and Liz. It is an annual tradition of theirs to gather family and friends to participate in the ritual of "Bagna Cauda". Originating in Piedmont, Italy, Bagna Cauda is simply a "hot bath". A simple combination of garlic, anchovies, olive oil and butter is cooked slowly, melting into a robust and fragrant brew. Traditionally eaten from a large copper pot over a bed of coals, it is also acceptable to enjoy from a candle lit tureen or chafer with a bunch of happy folks standing or sitting around a large table. A rustic and festive dish, it forces one to abandon any preconceived notion of proper table behavior and offers the opportunity to become a bit slovenly. To use the back of your hand to wipe the dripping oil from your chin is encouraged here! The assortment of crisp and tender vegetables enticed us to try everything; brussel sprouts, purple potatoes, baby kale, turnips, boiled eggs, carrots, peppers, radicchio, just to name a few of the alluring dippables. Chewy bread was broken and passed to wipe up any wayward sauce. The entire evening was a heavenly, candle lit haze, filled with the robust essence of garlic that made our eyes water and our spirits thankful that gluttony is still alive and well in Glen Ellen. Mangia Bene at it's best!