Making Panettone: Christmas at Ciccio’s in Ostuni

Orna O'Reilly: Travelling Italy

It’s Christmas cake – Italian style. Panettone, a sweet Milanese dome-shaped cake made with butter, eggs, sugar, candied fruits and raisins, dates back to the fifteenth century.

Panettone is completely different to the traditional fare we all enjoy during the Christmas season in other parts of the world. In the US, it’s pumpkin pie that’s on the menu, whereas in Ireland – where I lived for most of my life before moving to Italy – and the UK, it’s feel-good, fruit-filled cakes and puddings, liberally soaked in whiskey or brandy. These heavy puddings are strictly a seasonal treat enjoyed by all and usually a prelude to an evening with the family, either in front of the television watching Christmas movies, or playing a competitive game of Monopoly.

There are many stories told about the origin of Panettone, this light delicious cake, but it is mainly accepted that the word ‘panettone’…

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