It is always a celebration when a new item is included to our selection. Especially if it is something so special like a Panettone. As Italian kids, it is part of our culture of celebration, it really means Christmas holiday.
Every home in Christmas has many Panettone ready for welcoming guests, relatives to spend good time together.
Now Panettone is an iconic food everywhere in the world, but how did it start? What is it really and how to understand a good brand from an industrial product?
Panettone is an Italian type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan, usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Western, Southern, and Southeastern Europe as well as in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, the Horn of Africa, Australia, and to a lesser extent in former French, Spanish, and Portuguese colonies.from Wikipedia
What is panettone?
In Italy, panettone comes with an often varied history, but one that invariably states that its birthplace was Milan. The word “panettone” derives from the Italian word “panetto”, a small loaf cake. The augmentative Italian suffix “-one” changes the meaning to “large cake”.
The origins of this cake appear to be ancient, dating back to the Roman Empire, when ancient Romans sweetened a type of leavened cake with honey.
Throughout the ages, this “tall, leavened fruitcake” makes cameo appearances in the arts: It is shown in a sixteenth-century painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder and is possibly mentioned in a contemporary recipe book written by Italian Bartolomeo Scappi, personal chef to popes and emperors during the time of Charles V. The first recorded association of panettone with Christmas can be found in the Italian writings of 18th century illuminist Pietro Verri. He refers to it as “Pan de Ton” (luxury bread).
Though the etymology of the word ‘panettone’ is rather mundane, three more complex and fanciful folk etymologies have arisen. It is also thought that one of the ecclesiastical brothers, Fr. Antonio, who always wore the proper hat, was fond of this “pane”. The ecclesiastical hat Pane Tone was later adopted as the shape, which gave rise to Panettone. This derivation received credence and acceptability at the turn of the century, and is likely to be the forerunner of the more recent Christmas cake. Gianrian Carli in “Il Caffè” makes passing reference to panettone in 1850 in discussion with Pietro Verri and alludes to a clerical hat.
One theory suggests that the word derives from the Milanese, “pan del ton”, meaning “cake of luxury”
Although there are many legends that surround the creation of the dried fruit filled bread, panettone actually has its roots in religion.
According to Stanislao Porzio, a food commentator who wrote a book on panettone, the bread first originated in Milan in the 15th century. It was referred to as “pane di tono,” which translates to “luxury cake.”
During those times, yeast was considered a very special ingredient, so it was only used to make bread for religious celebrations, like Christmas. Three loaves of wheat bread — which were meant to symbolize the trinity — were cut and set aside for the following year. The rest of the bread was split between the people attending the celebration.
Augusta Panettoni was started in 1945 in Milan by a master pastry chef, custodian of the traditional “Panettone Milano” recipe. Today, as then, the master bakers at Augusta are the custodians of the secret of the special leavening agent, which it mix with the best butter in Europe, exquisite candied fruits and the best quality raisins, together with other first choice ingredients, in order to gives life to this delicious 500g Classic Panettone. The dough is left to rise naturally, then cooked slowly and carefully and allowed to cool for a full twelve hours, giving the cake its unique taste and flavour.