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Christmas Trivia - 10 Facts You Didn't Know About Panettone

Christmas Trivia - 10 Facts You Didn't Know About Panettone

Panettone.  That luscious sweet bread.  Or is it a cake?  Only found at Christmas, why?  These, and other interesting facts, that you may not have known about this Italian delicacy.

Panettone surrounded by cones as part of the Christmas trivia blog post, 10 facts you didn't know about panettone

Is panettone a cake or a bread?

Despite being filled with dried and candied fruits, it's actually a bread that's made from a sweet, rich dough.  The starter for the dough is not dis-similar to that used in sourdough bread.


How do you pronounce panettone?

This Italian word is actually written with an 'i' on the end, and is pronounced 'pan-eh-tone-ay'.

What is panettone cake made from?

Panettone contains wheat, butter, eggs, sugar, raisins and a mixture of other dried and candied fruits.  It's started off with a 'starter' agent too, similar to how a bread like sourdough is made.

Panettone with a chunk cut out of it, for the blog post 10 Facts you didn't know about panettone

When should you eat panettone bread?

Panettone was traditionally baked for religious festivals, predominantly Christmas.  And due to its labour intensive processes, most bakeries will only make it for this special occasion.

As to at which point of the day should you eat panettone?  The choice is entirely yours.  But if you fancy being Italian about it, try a slice with your morning coffee or evening glass of Marsala or Muscat, after dinner.

Why is panettone eaten at Christmas?

When panettone first come about, wheat was an extremely precious commodity, that was really only used for significant religious festivals, but usually at Christmas.  It has always been a popular gift at Christmas, with bakeries giving a loaf to their clients.  Most bakeries don't make it during the year, because it's so labour intensive it isn't economical.  A panettone takes up to 48 hours to make, on top of the starter yeast that needs to be nurtured in advance.  So, making this all year round wouldn't be an economically viable product for a business, when the demand isn't there for the rest of the year.

Is it true that panettone is hung upside down?

It indeed is.  When a freshly cooked panettone comes out of the oven, if it isn't turned upside down within about 20 seconds, the middle will collapse in on itself like a souffle.  Turning it upside down allows it to maintain its height.

Panettone on a serving platter, as part of the blog post 10 facts you didn't know about panettone

How should you eat panettone?

When you have a good quality panettone, a slice on its own is the most beautiful thing.   But try the Italian way, with a helping of mascarpone cheese, melted chocolate sauce, or with a light creme anglaise.

Is panettone cake fattening?

I'm afraid so.  A baker can use anything between 400g - 1kg in a 1kg loaf of panettone.  Calorie wise, there are around 460 calories in a 100g slice of panettone, which is more than a piece of Christmas cake.  This isn't one for the dieters, but then, Christmas isn't really a time for dieting, is it?

Panettone in traditional paper case, as part of the blog post 10 facts you didn't know about panettone

Can you buy panettone all year round?

You can, but you might not want to.  Our local Londis shop has some in now (mid February) that wasn't there a month or so ago.  But the amount of additives and preservatives that go into a supermarket type panettone would be considerable, and so it really is (in my opinion) better to wait until their peak season, when the manufacturing is fresher, which is December.

Can panettone be frozen?

Yes, it can.  Pull it out at easter for a delicious snack alongside Hot Cross Buns, or to make a sumptuous panettone bread and butter pudding or French toast with.


Some interesting facts there about panettone, I hope you've enjoyed reading them.  If you'd like to see our recipe for making panettone bread and butter pudding, click on the link here

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  • Annabelle Summerfield
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