At Christmas, Americans enjoy pumpkin pie, the English have plum or Christmas pudding and the Italians have panettone.
What really is panettone?
Panettone (literally, “big bread”) is a traditional Italian holiday sweet bread.
The classic panettone weighs about a kilo (that is, 2.2 lbs) and is about 8 inches high. The special dough slowly ferments and rises for at least 12 hours, but the leavening process can last much longer. Panettone ingredients are usually flour, eggs, butter, yeast, dried raisins, candied oranges, citron and lemon zest.
Where does panettone come from?
This special bread was born in Milan. Although panettone comes from Milan, it is now found throughout Italy.
The most commonly quoted legend behind panettone says that in the 15th century, a man fell in love with the daughter of a baker called Toni. In order to win her heart and prove his love to her father, he came up with a bread recipe that included dried and candied fruits and called his creation “pane de Toni,” or Toni’s bread. Another story says the Christmas banquet given by the Sforza family had no dessert until a young kitchen hand baked up a sweet bread, thereby saving the meal – and yes, the kitchen hand’s name was Toni. Whether there is any truth to these legends is immaterial – the bread remains a part of the Christmas season in many Italian households.
When do you eat panettone?
Traditionally, panettone is served after the Christmas day feast or on Santo Stefano (that is, December 26th, a national holiday in Italy)—but also on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Therefore, panettone is mostly eaten in the mornings with caffe latte or cappuccino, or as a snack with an afternoon espresso.
I personally love panettone. It is a tradition to eat at least a slice (or more) during Christmas time. You can’t get enought of it, especially when it’s served with hot chocolate on top, yummy!
Hope you liked the post and see you to the next one!