panettone:THE ITALIAN CHRISTMAS CAKE

Panettone: The Italian Christmas Cake

Panettone is a delicate Italian yeast-leavened bread made with raisins, candied fruit peels, almonds, and brandy. From 1839, the delicious secret of the special Lombard-born bread has been slowly spreading its fame throughout the world, and now the word is out.

THE TRADITION

The origin of panettone can be traced back to a tradition from the Middle Ages when three special, enriched wheat breads were served on Christmas Eve. The head of the family served a slice to all guests, and a slice was kept aside for the following year as sign of continuity.

PANETTONE VS. PANDORO

There are really two types of yummy Italian breads, Panettone and Pandoro. Pandoro originated in neighboring Verona. The name meaning 'golden bread,' the cake is bright yellow and is traditionally baked in a star-shape, then dusted with powdered sugar. For those who find the rich, buttery Pandoro cake too plain, the fruit, nut and brandied Panettone may run more in line with your taste.

• Selecting Panettone •

It should not come as a surprise that a centuries-old recipe would be produced by several companies in many variations. This year, Draeger's will be importing several incredible Italian brands- this is a helpful guide to the flavors your family is searching for:

TRADITIONAL

Tre Marie Milanese Basso: With raisins, candied citron and vanilla.
Bauli Panettone: Made with real butter.
Rustichella d' Abruzzo Classic: With raisins, candied fruit, and vanilla.
Chiostro de Saronno Classic Promenade: With raisins and candied fruit.
Il Gusti Blue: With raisins and candied orange peel.

FRUIT-FORWARD

Fiascanaro Ananas E Albbicca: With candied pineapple & apricot, covered with sugar drops and Italian pistachios.
Fiasconaro Nero Sublime: With Modica chocolate drops and strawberry jam, covered with dark Modica Chocolate.
I Gusti Pear & Chocolate: With candied pear and chocolate bits.
Rustichella d'Abruzzo Cherry: With candied Amarena (black Morello cherries) and vanilla.

CHOCOLATE LOVERS

Fiascanaro Al Cioccolato: With chocolate chips, covered with sugar drops- no fruit.
Chiostro di Saronno Tiramisù: With tiramisù cream and chocolate chips.
Chiostro di Saronno Chocolate Chip: With chocolate bits.
I Gusti Chocolate: With chocolate cream topped with chocolate glaze and chocolate bits.
Fiasconaro Nero Sublime: With Modica chocolate drops and strawberry jam, covered with dark Modica Chocolate.

LIQUEUR-LACED

I Gusti di Chiostro Panettone Amaretto: With amaretto cream, topped with dark chocolate and amaretti crumbles.
I Gusti di Chiostro Limoncino: With Limoncello cream and candied lemon peels.
Gran Pasticceria Dacasto Alla Grappa: With candied fruits and raisins soaked in grappa.
Gran Pasticceria Dacasto Alla Birra: With candied fruits and raisins soaked in 100% Italian unfiltered beer.
Gran Pasticceria Dacasto Al Moscato: With candied raisins soaked in 100% Italian Moscato wine.

NUTS ABOUT NUTS

Fiasconaro Mandorle d'Avola: With raisins, Avola almonds, covered with sugar drops.
Fiasconaro Nocciole: With raisins, Italian hazelnuts, covered with sugar drops.
I Gusti di Chiosti Pistachio: With pistachio cream, topped with dark chocolate glaze and pistachio pieces.

EXOTIC FLAVORS

Fiasconaro Rose & Prickly Pear: With prickly pear jam and white chocolate bits, topped with white chocolate and chocolate rose petals.
Dolce & Gabbana Agli Agrumi Citrus & Saffron: With Sicilian lemon, candied Mandarin, orange peels, honey and saffron.
Acetaia Balsamic Panettone with Sour Cherries: With raisins, balsamic crème, and sour cherries.

PANDORO

Fiasconaro Pandorato: Topped with sugar drops and powdered sugar.
Tre Marie Pandoro Tradizionale: Baked with fresh butter and egg yolks.
Bauli Pandoro: Made with real butter.

SPECIAL DIET

Frantoi Cutrera Pan Primo: Made with extra virgin olive oil, raisins and candied fruit. Dairy-free.
Chiostro di Saronno Organic Panettone Classico: With organic candied fruit and raisins.