It’s the holiday season, and the stores are already stocked with Christmas food items —chocolates, cookies, cakes, and desserts, from near and far. Though I am American, the Christmas treat I look forward to the most each year is panettone, a Christmas bread from Italy.
Italy is a country rich in tradition; especially at Christmas, seasonal foods and wine are eagerly anticipated. Italians love panettone so much they produce 7100 tons of it annually. That’s a lot of panettones!
The other Christmas bread that Italians adore is pandoro. Two desserts, both delicious —which should you choose? The answer is easy…choose both! Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them. To help you make your decision, here’s a little history…
Pandoro and Panettone
Pandoro originated in the area of Verona; recipes date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The name, pandoro, means golden loaf. In 1894, Melegatti, a Veronese pastry chef, was given the first patent to mass produce pandoro. Made primarily of eggs, butter, sugar, and flour, it obtains its golden color from the egg yolks. Pandoro has a distinct star shape, and is dusted with powdered sugar. Because it is not too sweet, it is often served with cream, chocolate, berries or syrup.
Panetto is believed to have originated in Milan (the home of another delicious dish, risotto) also in the 19th century. However, there is evidence it has been produced since the 15th century. Since 2005, production of panettone has been subject to a strict authentication process since 2005. Nevertheless, you can find panettone produced in South America, and there’s no guarantee the Italian production standards are met.
The major difference between panettone and pandoro is that panettone has dried citrus fruit and raisins; that’s one way you can decide which to choose: do you like dried fruits? If not, pandoro is your answer.
Side note: leftover panettone is also delicious sliced and made into french toast. Yum!
Both of these holiday treats are great with coffee or tea. However, if you want to serve something a little more fortifying, a sparkling wine like prosecco or moscato would be a nice pairing. Choose moscato if you like a sweeter wine, and prosecco if you prefer dry wine.
You can read more about prosecco in this interview I wrote for Italian Talks.
Order your panettone and prosecco direct from Italy!
If you’re short on time to shop for the holidays (and who isn’t) or you just want an expert to make your decisions for you, you can order your panettone and prosecco straight from Verona! Romeo and Juliet Guide, a tour company based in Verona, specializes in food tours and has some beautiful wine and food baskets for the holidays. If you order now, you can have a special delivery straight from the old country to make your holiday extra special. Use code “Penny2019” to receive 10% off your order.
If you happen to be in Verona for the Christmas holiday, take a food tour which includes panettone. The discount code will give you 5% off the tour.
Of course, you don’t have to go to Verona to enjoy Italian desserts and wines, but wouldn’t it be nice! Wherever you are, I wish you a holiday season filled with friends and family and all the traditions that have meaning for you. Me, I’ll be eating some panettone in Dallas and washing it down with a nice prosecco. Merry Christmas!