Panettone: history and origins
04 October 2021 - by T'a Milano

Although the panettone may well be the most famous Christmas cake, very few are aware of its history and origins. In actual fact, this cake is connected to various legends, but one, in particular, appears to be the most accredited.

The story goes that on Christmas Eve, at the court of Ludovico il Moro, the chef of the Sforza family, who had been ordered to bake the dessert for the banquet, accidentally burnt it. Dismay and panic ensued in the kitchen. No one knew how to remedy such a mistake. At this point, a certain Toni, a mere scullery boy, took the situation in hand and decided to use a piece of sourdough leftover from Christmas Day. He kneaded it for a long time, adding eggs, flour, sugar, sultanas, and candied fruits, and put it in the oven. In this way, he obtained a soft, well-risen cake that was so highly appreciated by the dinner guests that the Sforza family decided to call it “pan di Toni” in honor of the brave, young scullery boy. In any case, legend or otherwise, what is absolutely certain, from the writings and evidence handed down to us, is that originally the panettone probably looked more like a loaf of bread. During Christmas, however, instead of using the poorer flours, wheat flour was employed and the dough was enriched with candied fruits and sultanas.

The ritual of cutting and serving it to the dinner guests was reserved to the head of the household, who took care to keep a slice for the following year, to symbolize continuity, rebirth,
and the cyclical nature of life.

Discover all T'a Milano artisan Panettone: classic, in hatbox and specials.

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