The Bagna Cauda

October 7, 2011


  • Three garlic bulbs
  • oil
  • twelve anchovies
  • butter
  • two cardoons
  • four sweet peppers

What to prepare

  • a dianèt
  • a warmer for the coal
  • a wooden spoon


Smash four or five garlic cloves and slice thin another seven or eight, add a good amount of oil, a dozen of pickled anchovies that have been cleaned well and simmer, making sure you do not burn the garlic.

After approximately two hours add a big piece of butter and as soon as it has melted serve the sauce on a warming pan so that it does not cool. Eat it dipping exclusively cardoons and raw sweet peppers.


Maybe this is the dish which leaves who tastes it for the first time litterly astonished, leaving him then a person who will love it forever. A peculiar characteristic is the way it is used on the tables: at the center of the table the “dianèt” (terracotta pan) is placed on the “scionfetta” (pan warmer) with wood charcoal to keep the bagna warm, where all table companions will dip their food in peace and harmony; it is distributed so all may easily serve themselves to large slices of bread, cardoons and sweet peppers all cut in thin portions.

The table becomes a success of joyful colors, the cardoon’s pale white, the bright yellow and red of the sweet peppers; here and there bottles of good sparkling wine so fresh and inviting, the first wine of the year to be tapped.

This unpretentious way to stay all together around a simple dianèt, dipping food seems a melody dedicated to cordiality and an invitation to friendship; as a sign of those olden bonds suggested by nature itself and by the combination of those ingredients, oil and anchovies of Liguria, garlic, cardoons and sweet peppers from the Langa region.

Cardoons and sweet peppers and nothing else; bagna cauda, so simple and fragrant, does not accept other combinations, fantasies, bizarre mixtures, considered the real betrayal of an antique tradition having a secular farming nobleness, maybe a bit plain, yet still so convincing.

This is why we say that bagna cauda reaches it realization only in the month of November, when its characterizing ingredients (cardoons, sweet peppers, young wine) are in their most bursting lively and hearty tastes.