When it comes to dining, in so many ways, Italians have just got it right. But what about Christmas? If you have never tried Panettone, the ubiquitous Italian cake-like Christmas bread, here is why you really, really should…
1. There are rules
In Italy, the rules for making the delicacy are stricter than ever, with the recently passed Alberto Bauli, previous head of confectionary company in Verona, firmly putting the guidelines in place. Bauli insisted that the sweet treat must be comprised of exactly 20% candied fruit, 16% butter and eggs that are at least 4% yolk, amongst other rules. Unfortunately for Italy and Bauli, it has been difficult to enforce these standards overseas, so it is worth looking for a panettone made in Italy if you want an authentic taste of Natale.
2. It is so fluffy
In order to protect the authentic traditions of Italian society, this dessert takes three days to make, largely due to the mixing, leavening, resting and baking of the bread – we think it’s well worth the wait.
3. It is everywhere and for good reason
It seems the Christmassy dessert has found newfound fame in different corners of the world, with seven to ten percent of panettone produced in Italy now being exported to France, Germany, the US, Canada, the UK and Spain.
Italian immigrants have also brought their love of panettone to Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil, making it a truly international dessert. Italian confectioners have been outpaced by Brazilian-owned companies such as Bauducco and D’Onofrio, the biggest panettone producers on earth, who have created their own kind of panettone native to South America, studded with papaya and chocolate.
4. It goes with everything
Although this sweet and fluffy bread is great on its own, depending on where you are in the world, the dessert is often enjoyed with all sorts of fun additions. Some popular combinations include a glass of bubbles, ice cream, eggnog, marmalade, cappuccino, condensed milk or a big old dollop of Nutella.
Psst…we love it with boozy mascarpone cream!
5. It’s a living taste of history
There are a multitude of myths that make up the “origins of panettone” story, and depending on who you speak to, the stories change on a daily basis. The origins of panettone date back to 1470, where the first mention of the bread came from a manuscript written by a teacher who worked for the House of Sforza, the family who ruled the Lombard capital for over a hundred years. The original panettone mentioned in the manuscript was something entirely different as the recipe has not incorporated butter, yeast and eggs that the modern-day sweet bread is so famous for.
In the 19th century, panettone began to evolve into what we celebrate it as today. If we have convinced you to take a break from mince pies, Stazione Novella has is serving up two traditional Milanese Panettones. Choose between the classic Gran Milanese studded with candied fruit or go for the sweeter Glassato al Cioccolato to satisfy that sweet tooth. Grab a coffee in-house and treat yourself to a slice ($58) drizzled with warm mascarpone all month long, or order whole ($258) for delivery via GO, available throughout December.