Panettone and pandoro are both Christmas staple throughout Italy: delicious and yummy as they do look, those traditional Italian sweet yeast breads, most popular around Christmas and other special occasions.

Let’s present these two Italian, Christmas stars! Panettone, the tall, cylindrical (usually taller than broad, with its hallmark domed shape), fruit-filled sweet bread has graced Christmas tables in Milan, pretty much as we find it today, since at least the Reinassance: there are many fascinating legends regarding its origins.

The most well know of the panettone,  describes a Milanese baker named Toni who had a beautiful daughter.

A young nobleman wanted to marry her so disguised himself as a baker, and baked this special sweet bread filled with raisins and candied fruit peels to win the father’s approval. The two young people married, and meanwhile the sweet bread made Toni’s bakery famous, and was named “pan de Toni” or, Toni’s bread.

The other Chrstmas star, pandoro, comes from Verona: pandoro is commonly shaped like a frustum with an 8 pointed-star section.
Pandoro is traditionally served dusted with vanilla scented icing sugar made to resemble the snowy peaks during Christmas.

The origin of pandoro has not yet been established with certainty, the versions are still contrasting.

Some people thinks the pandoro was born in the Venetian Republic in the ‘500, when they were served on the rich tables of nobles some sweet of conical shape, covered with gold leaf, called “Pan de Oro” (Golden Bread).

For others, however, the origin comes from an old star-shaped dessert that the Veronese consumed at Christmas: the “Nadalin”. The most accepted theory, however, links the birth of pandoro to the Royal House of Habsburg, where since ‘700-‘800 processing techniques of the “Vienna bread” were well known and remained the basis for the preparation of pandoro.

In recent times, panettone and pandoro have undergone a sort of “restyling”, since many other variations of the original recipes are available:  be them coverings or fillings, chocolate,  zabaione sauce,  crema pasticcera (pastry cream) may now easily accommodate people tastes, even if purits would probably dislike such tasteful variations.

What about you?

Having Panettone and pandoro attained national status as dolci delle feste, you cannot help but taste them… Unless you’ve already done it, you would not believe how yummy they are!


Article by Degustibus