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Panettone is a traditional Italian sweet bread prepared during the holidays

Date 12.04.2017

Panettone is an Italian type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan (in Milanese dialect of the Lombard language it is called paneton, usually prepared and enjoyed for the holidays and New Year. 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.

A legend tells of a story that takes place in the 15th century when Ludovico il Moro was the Duke of Milan. It begins, one evening when the Duke’s cook was asked to prepare a delicious banquet, for himself and a number of nobles. The cook was successful in his feast, however, he had forgotten about the dessert in the oven, which had burnt by the time he realized.

The cook was in despair but thankfully the little kitchen boy, Toni, suggested using the sweet cake he had made for himself in the morning using flour, butter, eggs, lime zest, and raisins. The cook was afraid he had no other solutions, so agreed to offer the cake to the guests. They both nervously stood behind the door to see the reactions of the Duke’s friends.

To the cook’s relief, everybody loved the cake. The Duke enjoyed it so much that he asked for its name. The cook responded “L’è ‘l pan de Toni”, meaning ‘the bread of Toni’. The name has since evolved to Panettone.

Who new it was so challenging to make! Read this article from the New York Times.