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Panettone according to the Italian tradition

The name “panettone” was first recorded in writing in 1606 and appeared in the first Italian-Milanese dictionary: “panaton”, i.e. a large cake that is baked on Christmas Day. Francesco Cherubini gives us a more detailed description in his famous Vocabolario milanese-italiano (Milan-Italian dictionary), written in four volumes between 1839 and 1856: Panattón or Panatton de Natal is a type of wheat bread that is decorated with butter, eggs, sugar, and raisins or sultanas. The dough is mixed with almonds so that, when baked, it resembles croissants. It weighs a pound or more and is only made at Christmas; from the same or a similar dough, but in small loaves, it is made all year round by the confectioners, who we then call panattonin. In the country, on the other hand, panatton is usually made from corn flour and given away with apple wedges and grapes. At that time the panettone was still very flat, similar to a focaccia. In fact, yeast is only mentioned in a recipe from 1853. Candied lemon cubes were mentioned in a treatise by Giovanni Vialardi on the making of baked goods the following year. In the second half of the 19th century, the number of panettone cakes multiplied, while after World War II, the addition of mother yeast, eggs and butter gave it the look we all know today. The importance that this cake has in our Christmas tradition is also confirmed by the fact that the original recipe is protected by Italian law that regulates its manufacture and sale (Ministerial Decree of July 22, 2005) and contains some clarifications on the ingredients (Ministerial Decree of May 16, 2017). To celebrate the panettone and Italian tradition, bring a handcrafted panettone to your table this year.

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