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Panettone & Cakes

What is Panettone cake?

Known as the Italian Christmas cake, one bite of Panettone can bring back the fondest memories of joyous evenings with family and friends during the holidays. Its fluffy texture and notes of citrus, vanilla, and candied fruit are the flavors of comfort itself, which is why this delicious treat is an essential item for Christmas dinner or other special occasions. Panettone bread has a cupola (domed) shape that extends into a cylindrical base, giving it an elegant and festive appearance that looks too delicious to resist.

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What makes Panettone cake a special dessert is the long process of curing the dough, which can take several days. This proofing method produces acidity similar to sourdough, which gives panettone bread its distinctive fluffy texture. The sweet yeast dough is then brightened and enhanced with golden raisins, candied citron, and fresh lemon zest, a trifecta of flavors that make Panettone cake a holiday favorite year after year.

History of Panettone

Like many classic Italian dishes and desserts, panettone is associated with legends and lore that date back to the middle ages. As one story goes, a nobleman by the name of Ughetto fell in love with Adalgisa, the daughter of a baker. When the bakery fell upon hard times, his family forbade the relationship because they didn’t want him marrying someone from a low social class. But Ughetto was smitten and not one to give up easily, so he bought a few key ingredients—butter, sugar, raisins, and candied orange peel—and the first panettone was created. It became an instant hit in his village and the bakery became more successful than ever. This success prompted his family to finally offer their blessing for the couple to get married.

Some believe that it wasn’t Signor Ughetto who made the first panettone but his sister, a nun from Milan. One particularly dreary Christmas, she made the sweet bread to cheer up her fellow sisters at the nunnery, and the rest, as they say, is history.

According to another popular legend, panettone was introduced to wealthy aristocrats after a disaster in the kitchen. In the 15th century court of Duke Ludovico, the chef burned the dessert, but luckily, a scullery boy named Toni had made a sweet loaf from leftover ingredients, which was served at court instead. Literally translating to “bread of Toni” in English, this is the story of how Panettone got its name. The Duke and his guests loved the dessert so much that when they congratulated the chef, he gave all the credit to Toni by calling it panettone.

How to eat Panettone bread

In Italy, panettone is a popular Christmas gift to bring to dinner, which is why it’s often packaged in a decorative box festooned with bows and ribbons. After taking off the paper liner, cut into triangular slices with a serrated knife and place it on a plate. Some Italians eat it in the morning with an espresso or macchiato, a delicious contrast of sweet and bitter. Or, save it for a mid-day treat with a Marsala wine, which complements the sweet and fruity notes of panettone cake. Another option is enjoying panettone bread in the evening as dolce. Pair it with a sparkling Moscato and make a toast to friends, family, and delicious panettone from Supermarket Italy.

Popular brands of Panettone cake

Whether it’s for a special occasion or as an everyday treat, you’ll find a range of top-rated panettone for sale at Supermarket Italy, the online marketplace for gourmet Italian food. Made with real butter and fresh, wholesome ingredients, the budget-friendly Ferrara Italian Panettone is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face, including Italian grandmothers.

If you’re in the mood to splurge, treat your dinner hosts to Fiasconaro Tradizionale Panettone, which comes in a luxurious gift box adorned with ribbons. A more expensive option, the panettone is made from a secret recipe that produces premium quality dough. For a little variety this holiday season, the Amarena Fabbri Panettone with Candied Cherries is sure to be a hit at Christmas dinner, especially with Fabbri’s sour cherry syrup incorporated into their classic 100 year old panettone recipe.

Where to buy Panettone cake

For a taste of Old World cuisine, head to Supermarket Italy, the top online destination for quintessential Italian specialties like panettone cake and much more. Shop our selection today and treat yourself to an authentic Italian experience with panettone bread, a must-have dessert for the holidays.