La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte! Viva, viva la Befana che le feste porta via! The Befana comes at night with broken shoes, long live, long live la Befana who ends the holiday. A loose translation but literally La Befana is always the end of the Christmas holiday in Italy. This year because it is a Wednesday, many will take a long weekend and go back to work on January 11. The Sindrome da rientro starts on Monday for some then.
Traditionally, Italians gave their Christmas presents on this day, timed to the arrival of the Magi. When I was living their though all anyone got on la Befana was candy or coal. I found this blog entitled Willy or Won’t He? about la Befana and thought it interesting to see how she was viewed by this particular family.
No specific foods or wines are used on this day. However, I just discovered a winery called Raffaldini in North Carolina that makes a “Befana” sweet wine. Needless to say wonders never cease. Apparently this ancient family from Mantua in Lombardy has created what they call “Chianti In The Carolinas,” making a number of wines with Italian grapes. Their Befana wine is a sweet wine made using partially dried grapes.
I also found a beer that a Milanese brewery was making called Befana Chinata but it seems to only have been available at one pizzeria.
I saw a bottle on Nino Franco’s Prosecco today at Whole Foods near me and I think that might be the pairing for me to celebrate the Three King’s. Salute