At Christmas time in Italy, the most traditional sweet eaten is ‘Panettone’. The traditional fruit cake’s history can be traced back to Milan as far back as the late 1400’s.
A favoured legend on the origin of the name is attributed to the story of the lowly servant boy called Toni who worked in the kitchen of the then ruler of Milan, Ludovico ‘il Moro’, of the Sforza family. This servant boy saved the household chef from embarrassment and sacking when the chef accidentally burnt the sweet he had made. Toni offered him the mother yeast which he then used together with eggs, flour, sugar, raisins and candied fruit to make a soft dough and bake into a sweet bread. The guests loved the sweet so much that Ludovico named it ‘Pan de Toni’ in honour of its inventor.
The ‘Panettone’ is traditional for Italian families at Christmas time and is nowadays enjoyed by people around the world. It comes in the traditional form with candied fruit and raisins or in modern adaptations with beautiful fillings such vanilla cream, chocolate and even Limoncello (lemon liquor) flavoured. Panettone makes a great gift for a loved one or friend at Christmas time and as most things Italian is best enjoyed together.