By Ida Pusateri

 

Lucky for me, Christmas comes early-in fact this year the flavours and fun of the season began in May when I was in Milano for the World Food Exhibit. Such a scene is overwhelming and exhausting to most but for me, it’s a wonderful place, it’s my place.  As I step into the hall the energy and hustle of the thousands of exhibitors is as impactful as the scent of espresso in the air. It is an adventure of sensations and my one and only mission was-newest, latest and greatest panettone. Now, 6 months later the sought after panettoni have landed in our stores. 

 

Panettone in the simplest form is Italian sweet cake however, there is nothing simple about this divine traditional cake.  Rooted in Milano it makes its annual debut during the Christmas Season & New Year. Its beautiful cupola shape is a product of the long proofing process which results in its distinctive fluffy characteristics.  Today many variations of the panettone are available. Our guests are familiar with our favourite brands Leone, Scarpatto, Filippi & Chiostro di Saronnno each come in a variety of flavours and styles. They have earned their seat in our “signature collection”.

 

You can image how many panettone we have seen and tried over the years; at one food show alone you can try up to 30 varieties (if it’s a good year!) many often ask me what makes a good panettone or, why these? My answer is clear. Ingredients; type and quality, (initial) taste and any following taste(s) that arise, texture, moisture and story. Just as we have our family story we pride ourselves on finding and supporting smaller family run operations. This year we proudly introduce a handful of new brands to the holiday lineup. In no particular order I share with you…

 

Fratelli Sicilia
Two brothers from Sicily specializing in the production of traditional quality festive treats. The pistachio has won over my heart and I am especially grateful for the additional jar of Crema Di Pisacchio inside every box. 

 

Dolce & Gabbana Panettone (available in 2 flavours)
Long awaited and very well received.  Sicilian Citrus Fruits & Saffron and Pistachio topped with White Chocolate. The artisan product is showcased in collectible tin boxes by the designer.  It’s hard to not want a tin in each style for display.   

 

Stefano Faita (available in 3 flavours)
Set on a mission to find a panettone manufacturer partner in Italia, Stefano stumbled on a family owned Milanese manufacturer who has been making panettone magic since 1719. Together they developed 3 delicious, quintessentially Italian flavours—Classic, Chocolate and Lemon. I also appreciate the 750 g size so I can enjoy all three will less guilt.

 

 Baghi’s Pandolci
“Slow and well made” says it all. Each Baghi's cake is hand made with great care. Infused with a signature Italian liqueur, left to rise slowly and then baked in the same German-made Weck jar in which they are sold, each pandolci is a deliciously moist and flavourful treat that can be enjoyed straight out of its (reusable) package.

 

This holiday season, enjoy these fine delicacies with the ones you love for they are made with tremendous passion and precision in an effort to be celebrated and shared around the world.