The Italian Panettone
The Panettone is definitively the most popular Christmas sweet. But where does it come from?
The original Panettone is native of Milano. There are different stories about its invention: one of them is about the Christmas eve of the Sforza family, dukes of Milano in the XVI century. The cook burnt the dessert for dinner and his boy Toni tried to help: he gave him a sort of sweet bread he made with the last stuff he found in the pantry. When the Sforza family and the guests ate it, they were amazed by this new cake, originally named “pan (bread) de Toni“. Only later the pan de Toni became the Panettone.
The real story probably comes from the Milano’s tradition of making for Christmas a different bread from the everyday’s one, adding more ingredients.
The panettone is a rised dough made of water, flour, egg yolk, candied fruits, orange, citron and raisins. Today it is not considered only a Milano Christmas tradition, but an Italian specialty, and it is produced by big factories. Nevertheless in Milano you can find some little bakeries where the Panettone is handmade all year long.
It is interesting that, in another city in the North-West of Italy, Genova, there is a really similar sweet known as “Pandolce genovese” (Genoa Cake). It is made of flour, butter, sugar, yeast, candied fruits, raisin and pine nut.
The legend tells that Andrea Doria, doge of the Repubblic of Genova in the XVI century, asked for a new sweet, necessarily long-life for the long trips on the boat.
The Pandolce is called panettone as well. In the past it was only high, but in the XIX century, with the chemical yeast they started producing a thin pandolce, which is faster to cook. In Genova you can buy pandolce in every bakery, not only during the Christmas holidays.
You can find or even cook panettone all over the world…so try it and love it!
And if you are in Christmas mood, read more about this festivity here.