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Panettone is popping up everywhere

November 23, 2010

Panettone in a Florentine supermarket

Nothing says Christmas quite like the colorful boxes of panettone and pandoro that appear in supermarkets across America this time of year.

Both breads are high-rising and sweet–Italians eat them for dessert and for breakfast during the Christmas season.  Panettone is studded with nuts and dried fruit, while Pandoro (litereally “golden bread”) is simply dusted with powdered sugar.  Of course, variations are filled with chocolate or nutella for a truly decadent experience.

After Christmas, they go on sale for one or two euro each.  When I lived in Italy, my friend Dallas and I planned a post-Christmas trip to Vienna and Prague.  Before leaving Italy, we bought a panettone and it became the third member of our party.  It accompanied us to museums, Christmas markets, and coffee shops.

Most memorably, it was the guest of honor at a New Year’s Eve party spent in a concentration camp-like hostel just far enough outside of Prague that it was reachable only by buses that ran only until 11pm.  Other guests included Ritter chocolate bars and wafer cookies.

Thanks to Alan Richman, guest speaker at my food blogging class last night, for the suggestion to plagiarize myself because it’s so much easier than actually working.  I grabbed this photo from a post in my old blog that I kept when I was actually in Italy.

Happily, I’ll be back in Italy in time to buy a few one euro loaves and get a little bit of that old sugar high.

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