All Posts from December, 2015

“The Christmas Trio”: the origins of this typical Christmas sweets

December 21st, 2015 | By Michele Pili in Parco San Marco | No Comments »

PANDORO

As all Italian culinary traditions have their own regional belongings, the “Pandoro” has as well a specific geographical origin which is Verona. Its true story is yet unknown as different tales passed on to generations: some say that its birth dates back to the Venetian Republic in the 16th Century; others believe that it takes its origins from another typical dessert, the “Nadalin”, as they share the same star-shape feature. Another popular belief is that it originated from the “Pane di Vienna”, which has traditionally a butter-rich dough like the “Pandoro”. What we know for sure, is that the “Pandoro” began to be mass produced in Verona at the end of the 19th Century and so it became increasingly popular, firstly on a local scale then gradually worldwide. This sweet definitely cannot be missed at Christmas!

 pandoro

TORRONE

Just like the “Pandoro”, the “Torrone” is traditionally a Christmas sweet even though it can be found all year round. The Italian population has always believed that the “Torrone” was born in Cremona, which is in part true, but it is in fact very similar to another sweet which was imported in the Mediterranean lands (especially Spain and Italy) by the Arabs. Ancient tales tell of this sweet being produced for the first time in 1441, in occasion of the holy ceremony of Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti´s wedding which took place in the Italian region called Lombardia. It is also said that the sweet was made to look like the Torrazzo bell tower, architectural symbol of Cremona.

Most likely, the name “Torrone” was inspired by the renowned Cremona´s landmark.

In 1543 the town of Cremona chose the “Torrone” as an appropriate gift for its influent visitors coming particularly from Milan. This only proves how the sweet was already seen as such an important element in the city´s culinary tradition.

Don´t miss out on some “Torrone” when having a coffee!

 torrone

PANETTONE

One of the most popular tales about the Milan traditional Christmas sweet “Panettone” tells how it was firstly baked for a magnificent Christmas lunch given by the Sforza family, but was mistakenly overcooked and burnt by the chef. His commis chef named Toni, noticing the chef´s desperation, proposed him to serve the pudding he made with leftovers as an alternative. It was a sort of bread made with butter and candied fruits. This unusual dessert was liked by everyone sitting at the dining table and the chef was praised and complimented. He himself was surprised by this reaction but admitted that the baker was in fact his commis chef calling the pudding “Pan di Toni”.

Another story tells us about Ughetto Atellani, an hawker who was madly in love with this girl called Algisa. She owned a bakery by the town´s church which wasn´t having much profits, not even nearing Christmas time. Sadly all her potential customers were queuing at the competitor bakery, and she became miserable. Ughetto, acknowledging this situation, decided to use his savings to buy some ingredients like butter, sugar, eggs and raisins. He mixed everything with flour and love and soon he was rewarded: the sweet “experiment” was successful and the couple lived happily ever after.

“Panettone” is a simple bread-like recipe enriched by common ingredients but combination of the two made it one of the most famous puddings in the world.

Cannot celebrate Christmas without a slice of “Panettone”!

panettone

 Written by Angelo Lentinio