Bagna Cauda is ready for UNESCO
- Written by Fiammetta Mussio
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On November 20, 21, and 22 in Asti, the food of peace and conviviality that even Pope Francesco enjoys will undergo its request to become recognized as a World Heritage by UNESCO: Bagna Cauda.
During “Bagna Cauda Day” weekend from Friday to Sunday, over 100 restaurants, wine bars, historical wine cellars, and other locales in Asti, Piemonte, and around the world will be celebrating the warmth and sharing of the bagna cauda rite. Over 12,000 spots are available for booking this year, which can be online at www.bagnacaudaday.it; and we recommend reserving your spot for this popular event.
Bagna cauda, which means “hot bath” in Piemontese, is a savory dip made from olive oil, garlic, and anchovies often eaten with fresh veggies, including the Piemontese Gobbo cardoon, and typically enjoyed with many people (that way, no one is offended by garlic breath). The mixture is kept warm in a fujot, a ceramic bowl with a candle underneath that keeps the bagna cauda warm. Pope Francesco, of Piemontese origins, is particularly fond of this dish, too.
The organizers of the event emphasize that the recent, tragic attacks in Paris cannot mar the message of peace and hospitality that bagna cauda has always been connected with.
This year’s Bagna Cauda Day is particularly significant for another reason, too. The Langhe-Roero and Monferrato landscapes may soon give up their status as “most recent” UNESCO World Heritage, because bagna cauda itself may soon enter in its lists. As a dish that is deeply rooted in the history and culture of Piemonte, it is considered a cultural heritage worth protecting, like pizza or the Mediterranean Diet (both of which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage). The request will take place in Asti during the event.
In anticipation of the results of this request, Bagna Cauda Day—this year in its third edition—has gone all out with acquiring tables and places to eat. Over 100 restaurants, wineries, and other locales will be taking part, most of which are in Piemonte, but not all. From the renowned restaurant Barbetta in New York to the far-off Water Front restaurant operating on the Island of Tonga in the middle of the Pacific by a nostalgic Piemontese couple, this year bagna cauda is wafting its savory aromas through more angles of the world than ever.
12,000 seats are available between November 20-22 this year. In all locales, whether Michelin starred or rustic osterie, the price of bagna cauda is the same at €25, including dessert and caffè. Wine will be available at €8 per bottle. Each locale will serve classic bagna cauda in all its garlicky, savory glory, or the less intense sort, with a small amount or no garlic (the two versions are called “as God intends;” and “heretic” or even “atheist.” If you want to eat it like a true Piemontese, you know which one to pick). The first fujot will have their little candles lit on Friday at dinner, then Saturday and Sunday at lunch and dinner.
Diners receive an illustrated hand towel by the painter Giancarlo Ferraris from Canelli, who interpreted this year’s theme “Bagna Cauda is music.” There will also be a recipe and history book; and a bagna cauda kit with toothpaste, chocolates, and more.
Bagna Cauda Market
The Bagna Cauda Market will be held under the historical arches of the covered market—Mercato Coperto—in Piazza Libertà in Asti this year. If you get the chance, make sure you stop by to pick up fresh vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, bread, anchovies, and a fujot, everything you need to make bagna cauda at home (at special prices). In addition, on the evening of Saturday and midday on Sunday, market stall owners and chefs will be serving bagna cauda.
→ Need a recipe? Go here: Bagna Cauda with Dolcetto or Barbera…Which wine would you choose?
The midnight kiss and selfie prize
On Friday and Saturday at midnight, the “Bagna Cauda Kiss,” also called the “Barbera Kiss” returns, or the midnight kiss in Piazza San Secondo in Asti for all bagna cauda consumers. This year, people may also participate in the Instagram contest by using the hashtag #baciamisubito (“kiss me now”). A jury will then select best Barbera Kiss picture and the winner will be awarded with a special edition mini wine fridge from the Consortium of Barbera d’Asti and the Wines of Monferrato.
Bagna Cauda Movie
Yes, there’s even a movie about bagna cauda. “Bagna Cauda Movie” is an artistic, gastronomic film to share with friends without the risk of garlic breath (if you feel you must watch it unaccompanied by the very dish it was made for).
Bagna Cauda to help others
Bagna Cauda is also about solidarity: Slow Food Gardens in Africa and Donne del Vino del Piemonte donated a collection of historical Langhe Rosso 2004 bottles to collect funds and contribute to the purchase of an echocardiograph for the Hospital of Asti.
Bagna Cauda Day
November 20-22, 2015. Asti (AT)
Cover photo from « R☼Wεnα », Creative Commons
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