Better Panettone or Pandoro? Which is the most preferred Christmas cake by Italians?

In Italy we know, food is sacred and good eating is a religion. So, even in the Christmas season, Italian tables never lack delicacies of regional traditions, but we divide on the choice of traditional dessert: better panettone or pandoro? A question apparently simple but Italians are divided into two factions, the panettone lovers, rich of raisins and candied, symbol of abundance and happiness; and whose prefer pandoro, simple but rich in butter and eggs, with its distinctive star shape.

The Milanese panettone: its origins and its variants

The origin of panettone, the genuine dessert of Milan, is very ancient, and dates back as far as 1400. It is said that a chef in service at the court of Ludovico il Moro had mistakenly burnt the cake to be served at the end of a lunch, and, without it, served a dessert of a helper, Toni, prepared with what had remained in the kitchen: flour, eggs, butter, raisins and citron peel. The cake was much appreciated and was called with the name of its inventor, “pan del Toni” (Toni's bread), from which the name today panettone. Another legend sees the panettone protagonist of a love story between Ughetto, noble falconer of the Duke, and Adalgisa, daughter of a humble baker, Toni, in precarious economic conditions. Ughetto proposed to help the father of his beloved and prepared a sweet bread enriched with raisins and dried fruit; this bread was so successful that it raised the fate of the baker and allowed the two lovers to crown their dream of love.

Truth or legend, panettone is the most classic Christmas cake, with a unique flavor and an unmistakable scent. Not everyone actually likes candied fruit inside, so that today many confectionery companies offer variations only with raisins, or with delicious chocolate or cream fillings in various flavors. There is also a classic variant, Verona panettone, which has glazing with almonds on the surface.

Pandoro of Verona: the aristocracy’s cake

About the origins of the pandoro, someone tells it was already known in the ancient Rome, about what already told Pliny the Elder (I sec. d.c.), talking about a “panis” (bread) made with flour, butter and oil. Others trace the pandoro to the Renaissance, when in the courts of the Venetian nobles it was used to cover the food with thin gold leaves, from which, therefore, the name “pan de oro” (golden bread). The ancestor of the pandoro was the “nadalin”, a very simple cake prepared by the Veronese; Verona is actually the birthplace of this sweet with the typical star cone shape, rich in butter and wrapped by a cascade of delicate powdered sugar. The pandoro is definitely preferred by children for its simple taste, and is often used for the preparation of other sweets, with chocolate or fruit filling, ice cream and as best suggest imagination and delicacy.

…Which do you prefer?

It is really hard to choose between the two contenders on Christmas table. throne. On the one hand the panettone, high, soft, fragrant and rich in raisins and candied like precious stones of a noble texture; on the other hand the pandoro, soft, fragrant, almost a taste of Paradise at every bite. We decided not to appoint a winner; at Christmas, you know, calories do not count, so let’s eat both!

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