In praise of the panettone

The very first time I set eyes on a panettone, it was love at first sight, no bite, sight, bite, sight! sight! A large cardboard box had traveled halfway around the world to my doorstep, filled with xmas goodies and gifts from my husband (then fiancé). The elegantly designed carton which held the panettone looked like it was a gift for royalty and I remember thinking, “Geez, this bread must be a big deal in Italy.” If there should be any question as to how much of an esteem in which a food product gives to its place of origin, this sentence that I read in the newspaper says it all:

Senza il panettone Milano non sarebbe Milano.”

‘Without panettone Milan wouldn’t be Milan.’ Well, without the almighty panettone christmas wouldn’t be Christmas!

Naturally ’tis the season, and big business is flooding the tube with elaborate commercials of their brand panettone. One in particular remains to be my favorite as it embodies the innocence and excitement of a child during the holidays. In anticipation of a visit from Babbo Natale (Santa Claus), a little boy wakes up in the middle of the night and places a panettone next to the fireplace. He checks it for softness then shouts up the chimney: Dai! Buttati! Che morbido! (Come on! Jump down, how soft it is!) How cute is that?

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