It is rather early to talk about panettone, but I have had the opportunity to taste one now and so I'll write a short Holiday preview.
I have always loved panettone: more than any other food, it means Christmas to me. As I wrote in an older post:
Panettone and pandoro have attained national status as dolci delle feste. I spent my childhood and adolescence alternating between the two as my favorite. However, for several years now, I have been solidly in the panettone camp (though I understand people who think differently). The final choice may have something to do with the fact that I lived for 10 years in Milan, panettone's birth place. In December, pasticcerie (pastry shops) in Milan show their freshly-baked panettoni and oh my! it is difficult to resist.
Both panettone and pandoro are of soft, delicate texture. Panettone is studded with uvetta (raisins) and canditi (candied orange and citron peel), while pandoro is plain inside... The names panettone and pandoro contain the word pane (bread), suggesting that they are special breads, made for particular occasions.
Bauducco Foods is a company based in Brazil that was founded in 1952 by an Italian. I totally understand Carlo Bauducco's desire to bring to his adopted country one of the best traditional products of his country of origin. I actually made panettone at home two years ago. It is a rather lengthy process and not having a stand-up mixer made it even more laborious. Bauducco's website states that their panettone "takes 52 hours to produce due to the natural fermentation and cooling process." Panettone production cannot be rushed.
The result of my efforts was good... to make French toast. However, my heart skipped a bit when at some point my kitchen smelled unmistakably of panettone, a heavenly mix of sweetness, vanilla and citrus notes. When you unwrap a panettone, the fragrance that envelops you is the prolog of a complex gustatory experience. A slice of the tall, soft-as-a-cloud cake is a perfect combination of flavors and textures.
I was pleased by the softness of Bauducco panettone. My husband and I enjoyed a slice after dinner, by itself. My father used to cut the first panettone of the season after the traditional Christmas Eve dinner, and then we had slices of it and of pandoro pretty much every day during the Holidays. Come to think about it, this year, other things have been happening earlier than usual, including the first storm (which has been dumping rain since yesterday) and the first cold spell.
Many thanks to the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program and Bauducco for offering me the opportunity to taste the panettone.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the una fetta di panettone audio file [mp3].
Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]
FTC discosure: as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Bauducco, I received a 26 oz. sample of Panettone with raisins and a 26 oz. sample of Panettone with chocolate chips at no charge. I have not and will not receive any monetary compensation for mentioning the product on my blog.