Bagna Cauda in California
I'm so impressed! I was looking online for attractive photos of bagna cauda vegetables since my own photos didn't come out well and I found a website of a group of friends who have thrown 5 big (I mean, like 20 people!) bagna cauda parties out in California. This is really something! They are associated with Weimax Wines & Spirits in Burlingame, California and so there are loads of shots of luscious plates of food beside glasses of ruby wine. It's all very seductive. More incredibly, there seems to be a couple in the group that owns a bakery and are either very avid victory gardeners or actual farmers. The husband bakes the most amazing looking sourdough bread (it's apparently sourdough from the telltale bullseye marks of the proofing baskets where sourdough must rise at low temperatures overnight) in a real wood-burning oven! I think the couple runs "Tolmach Ovens" and so are professionals at this. I am full of envy! In the photos of all the Bagna Cauda parties, they provide many of the vegetables including the cardoons that are so hard to find in the Midwest. If you want to see what a large Bagna Cauda party could be like, have a look at the photos at Gerald Weisl's website. They have a huge list of dinner party photos and 5 of them are Bagna Cauda parties: "Bagna Calda 2002:, "Bagna Calda January 2003", "Jesper's Bagna Cauda", "Bagna Cauda at Marjorie's" and "Bagna Calda / Bagna Cauda / Bagna Caoda January 2005" Here, you'll see that they use a lot of spring and summer vegetables like asparagus and red bell peppers. Their recipe suggests one HEAD of garlic per person plus one for good luck or somesuch. Wow! And they say that tempering all this allium with milk (like I do) is for wimps. Well, more power to them; they certainly won't have anyone standing in their way (at least not too closely)! They also have individual bagna cauda sauce terrines called "ceramiche" heated with tea candles underneath. They look just like my "crema catalana" (Spanish Creme brulee) dishes fitted on top of mini pot-pourri burners. They would certainly solve the problem of 20 people trying to get at one sauce pot all at the same time. Anyway this was an impressive show of gourmet/gourmandise. Hats off to you, Gerald and all your buddies.