Oh my gosh you guys, it is almost Christmas! In nearly every part of the world Santa Claus – or St. Nick or Father Christmas or some other jolly man - brings presents. Then there are some parts of the world (called the Netherlands) where he is some sort of cruel slave driver, and that is why we have trend pieces and Django Unchained. Maybe? On Christmas Day I’m probably going to see Les Mis.
However, in some parts of Italy, most notably Marche, Umbria and Lazio, there is a female version of Santa Claus named La Befana. Do you know why she is better than Santa Claus?
Oh, I am here to tell you!
Okay, what do you leave for Santa Claus? Milk and cookies.
What do you leave for La Befana? Wine and “the regional specialty.”
So while Santa Claus is gumming 2% milk and Oreos with his old man teeth, La Befana is savoring a nice Pinot Noir and some tartufo.
I know which one I’d like to be.
Also, there is no part of the world – none – where La Befana is known to employ slaves. She doesn’t even have reindeer. She’s just a fast walker. Because the wine is heart healthy.