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Ever since I began traveling to Italy several years ago, I’ve been wondering what’s in these tall boxes that you find in bars and supermarkets before Christmas. Undeniably, it is a type of pastry. “But when and how do you eat it?”, I have asked myself.

Recently, I visited friends in Malta and just before taking farewell they asked me if I wanted a Panettone with me.
Picture of Panettone in supermarketI asked, “Panettone?”
A bit shocked, they replied, “You moved to Italy and do not know what Panettone is?” followed by laughter.

Panettone is a tall cake which is mainly eaten at Christmas and New Year. It is a naturally leavened cake that can be made with raisins, candied citrus fruit, sweet liqueur etc – all depending on what brand or area of origin. It can be eaten as it is cut up, or with crema made with a mascarpone base.

It is said to be originally from Milan. Today Panettone is sold everywhere in Italy. In my province, Genova, they have their own version called Pandolce, which is lower and not as fluffy.
Even in Brazil, Argentina and other parts of South America, whereto many Italians emigrated, Panettone has also become popular.