January 6, 2012

Buona Befana

In Italy, the holidays end with the Epiphany, represented by a "witch" called la Befana.

My husband remembers when he was growing up in Florence the joy of waking up and finding your "calza", the stocking with candy and gifts. Christmas in his family was not gift giving time, there was something. Perhaps a new pair of shoes or a jacket, but the gifts normally associated with Christmas were given January 6th.

I wrote about it before on the blog here

In my village there was no festival this year, no candy trucks and no witches anywhere to be seen. Not sure what happened, perhaps the economy.

We played it cool at home and ended the holiday season with a fabulous salad fresh from our own garden and combined one of my favorite winter salad combinations, fennel and orange salad with red onions. A little something I learned in Sicily.

I adore the colors and the flavors.

Normally we thinly slice the fennel and then top with orange slices. Sometimes I use green onions to garnish, but where I live, in Certaldo, we are famous for our sweet red onions.

I topped our greens with the fennel and red onions and then use clementines I had, another winter addiction.

Lightly season with salt and dress with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar.
Here is another version from Ortygia, at Trattoria Mariano- his insalata di arancia con l'acqua pazza.

Our last trip in Sicily this was the version we made with Chef Angelo at the Planeta Estate in Menfi.

this version had crenshaw melon, cherry tomatoes and oregano

A clean start to a new year.

Looking forward to 2012 and sharing new recipes and my kitchen secrets with you.


  1. I have been craving this salad for a while so I must make it. I also like it with those wrinkly oil cured black olives. Have to go to the store.....xo

  2. in siicly we also added anchovy, olives ( green) and toasted almonds

  3. Feeling healthy already just looking at the recipe! And I want to let you know how much I enjoy receiving and reading your blog. I adore everything about Italy - the amazing food, beautiful language and lovely people and reading what you have to say helps tide me over until my next trip. Thanks for sharing the snippets of your life and cooking which are always interesting and informative. Felice Anno Nuovo!

  4. Thanks @laney!!!

  5. Ciao Judy! Felice anno nuovo! Love the new look of the blog! Your photography is always exquisite as are your recipes! Un abbraccio da California and your old stomping grounds! Melissa

  6. Thanks Melissa!!!

  7. It looks good with the fennel. We make it just with red onions and oranges.

  8. delicious looking presentation nice to meet you
    regards Akheela

  9. Good and decorative work. Good collections. Really image itself admired me a lot. Thanks for sharing. Keep on doing...

  10. Keep up this good work, you have a nice blog over here with much good information! When you post some new stuff, I’ll visit your blog again and I’ll follow it.

  11. I am a new visitor. I like your site very much because you are updating new and different things. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Awesome recipe presentation.i like it, thanks for sharing

  13. A little something I learned in Sicily.