What is Panettone?

What is Panettone?

What is Panettone and our recommendations for the best Panettone to buy online

Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas cake originating from Milan. It's a sweet, fluffy, and dome-shaped bread that's often typically studded with candied fruits and raisins. It's enjoyed during the holiday season and has become popular in many parts of the world and continues to be a symbol of Italian holiday traditions and festivities.

We search Italy for the very best artisan bakers of Panettone so everyone in the UK can enjoy the very best at their Christmas table. Sacla’ has the widest selection of traditional artisan Italian Panettone to buy in the UK – with free delivery over £30 and free gift messaging.

Is Italian Panettone a bread or a cake?

While panettone is technically a type of sweet bread due to its yeast-based dough, it is commonly considered a festive dessert or cake-like treat. Its dome-shaped appearance, often adorned with candied fruits and raisins, reinforces its cake-like presentation. So, whether you choose to call it a cake or a bread, one thing we can all agree on it that it most definitely a treat!

Why is Panettone so expensive?

The cost of Panettone is a reflection of the quality of the ingredients, the labour-intensive process and the craftmanship that goes into creating this most loved treat. Panettone is made using high-quality ingredients, including butter, eggs, candied fruits, and sometimes premium ingredients like chocolate or dried fruits which can be costly.

The traditional method of making panettone involves a lengthy and meticulous process, including multiple stages of rising and careful handling of the dough. Skilled bakers invest a significant amount of time and effort into crafting each panettone by hand. Many high-quality panettone varieties are produced by artisanal bakeries using traditional techniques.

Artisanal production often results in smaller batches and more hands-on attention to detail, which can increase the overall cost of production.

And finally, the packaging and presentation of a Panettone is truly special. Often wrapped and either boxed or placed in a tin, they make the best Christmas gifts for food lovers or your Christmas hosts – or treat yourself!

How is Panettone served?

Panettone is traditionally served at Christmas, the crowning glory of the festive dinner table. At this time, it is typically served as it is, carved into thin slices and shared at the end of the meal. But it is a very versatile treat and can be enjoyed in various ways. Try it toasted which gives it a slightly crispy texture. You can spread butter or jam on the toasted slices for extra flavour.

Some people enjoy dipping panettone slices in hot chocolate, coffee, or even sweet wine for added decadence. For a delicious twist on French toast, slice Panettone and dip the slices in egg and frying in butter. Panettone can be used in various dessert recipes, such as trifle, bread and butter pudding, or as a base for ice cream sundaes.

However you serve it, a Panettone makes a fabulous Christmas gift, wrapped and boxed beautifully.

Are there many different varieties of Panettone?

There are several variations and types of panettone available, each with its own unique flavours and ingredients.

The Traditional Panettone is a classic, made with candied fruits and raisins. You’ll find award-winning varieties such as this Classic Panettone by Sal de Riso, acclaimed for its fragrance and sweet, open dough. If you’re not a fan of candied fruit though, Cipriani’s Classic Panettone might be more to your taste, containing just plump raisins.

Looking for something sweeter? Chocolate Panettone is gaining popularity with chunks of chocolate baked into the dough. Or an extra indulgent Salted Caramel variety?

There are many different flavours but one that really caught our eye was a Red Wine Panettone by Agrumato with cubes of red wine jelly jewels hidden within.

Those with special dietary requirements such as gluten intolerance and lactose intolerance or people following a vegan diet won’t miss out either. Award-winning Gluten-Free Panettone and Vegan Panettone from Lazzaroni means that everyone gets to enjoy this delicious Italian Christmas treat.

A little Panettone history…

The history of panettone is steeped in legend and tradition. While the exact origins are not fully clear, there are a few popular stories that are often associated with the creation of this iconic Italian Christmas bread.

One popular legend dates back to the 15th century and involves a young Milanese nobleman named Ughetto Atellani who fell in love with the daughter of a baker named Toni. To win her heart, Ughetto disguised himself as a baker's apprentice and created a rich and delicious bread using ingredients like butter, eggs, candied fruit, and raisins. This special bread, known as "Pan de Toni" (Toni's bread), became a hit during the Christmas season and eventually evolved into the panettone we know today.

While the legends add charm to the history, the truth is that panettone's exact origins are complex and probably involve a mixture of stories and culinary traditions. Over time, the bread became associated with Christmas celebrations in Italy and beyond, and its popularity spread throughout the world.

What is the difference between Panettone and Pandoro?

Panettone and Pandoro are both Italian cakes traditionally eaten at Christmas but the first difference you’ll notice is the shape. Instead of the domed Panettone, Pandoro cake is in the shape of an eight-pointed star and dusted with icing sugar. And then, as you cut into the Pandoro, you’ll see that, unlike Panettone, there is no candied fruit or raisins either – just a light airy buttery cake. So if dried fruit isn’t for you, try a Classic Pandoro by Nannini and a luxurious Tiramisu Pandoro by Follador.

Where can you buy Italian Panettone online in the UK?

Sacla’ has a wide range of traditional Christmas Panettone ranging in price from £8-£60 from award-winning artisan producers including Vergani, Lazzaroni, Sal de Riso, De Vivo and Cipriani, with free UK delivery over £30 and a free gift message – send the perfect Christmas gift!