Bagna Cauda, an old cookery tradition

Bagna Cauda in terracotta

In Turin what to eat isn't an everyday question. Good food is right at the heart of the city's culture, and nothing is more central to it than Bagna Cauda.


Literally translated as "hot dip" this dish is a staple of the Piedmont region. It is made with butter, anchovies, garlic and olive oil, but there are plenty of variations on the theme. Sometimes, cream is added, while luxury variations include truffles.


The dish is eaten like Fondue, but without the massive quantities of Swiss cheese. Instead, diners dip fresh vegetables like fennel, artichoke, bell peppers and carrots into the mixture, which is always served piping hot. Traditionally, the dip is served in terracotta pots that are is kept warm by small candles placed underneath.


Bagna Cauda has historically been a seasonal dish. The story goes that it was invented by local farmers to celebrate a plentiful wine harvest, using fresh rustic ingredients to create a rich, enticing feast. However, it also has a more practical use. The people of Piedmont often experience chilly late autumns and winters, so they have also long used the dish as a way to warm themselves during the colder months. Nowadays, visitors can experience it all year round, but it remains the ideal accompaniment to sight-seeing during Christmas and New Year holidays in Turin.


When you head to the capital of Piedmont, there are plenty of different dishes and drinks to explore, so travel with an open mind. From antipasti, like veal and tuna, mayonnaise or anchovies in green sauce, to mushroom risotto and agnolotti (a kind of ravioli stuffed with cooked lamb), the city offers something for any gourmet food lover.


The internationally famous Slow Food Movement is very popular in the area around Turin, a sign of how seriously the people there take their food. So when you visit Turin what to eat should be a central part of your plans. Don't miss out - it's a gourmet paradise.

What To Eat