La Befana

It's been a busy holiday here at la tavola. The culinary good times, visiting family and midnight mass have kept us awake around the clock but, here it is the 5th of January and it isn't over yet.

La Befana visits tonight.


La Befana (I'll leave a few links here), like Santa, comes through the chimney and leaves good children pressies, typically in the form of sweets, under the bed. Unlike Santa, however, she is not a jolly old soul dressed in red. She's an old lady, usually portrayed with a long crooked nose, one tooth, dressed in tattered clothes, covered in soot and flying around on a broomstick.

No, we haven't had too much liquid cheer nor have we confused Christmas with Halloween, it's the celebration of the Epiphany and this witch-like character is part of the fun.

Also part of the celebration of the Epiphany is the making of the crown shaped panettone. I'm not sure how this got an invite to the party but it's a tradition that is a tasty one too. And since it's one of the few times a year that cake for breakfast is not only acceptable, it's expected, I'm in.

Many cultures make symbollic sweet treats for this time of year. Our immediate community is wonderfully multicultural and there are delicious olliebollen, Kolach, and various poppyseed delights that grace our door courtesy of our Dutch, Ukrainian and Polish neighbours.

As good as it is with a decent lathering of butter, it's also good torn up and immersed in a sweet caffé with milk.

What you do with yours is up to you.

Crown Bread - recipe here.



So Simple said…
Hi Mary
That bread looks sensational. I presume it tasted as good as it looks.
Mary said…
Thank you SS, it's a rich bread, slightly heavier than, but similar to, brioche.
It's tasty plain or with butter for the first few days then it makes wonderful toast. And if there is enough left, bread pudding.
La befana said…
Learn More about the befana at



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