Inghams Italy Advent- 17 dicembre
Wed Dec 2014
The History of Panettone
Nowadays, even in every British supermarket you are able to find a good Italian panettone. This famous sweet bread with raisins is originally from Milan and has been the most popular Italian Christmas dessert for decades.
At the beginning of the twentieth century Angelo Motta, an Italian entrepreneur, started producing panettone on an industrial scale. He obviously opened his business in Milan, where many artisans still produce panettone today. Artisanal panettone clearly has a much longer tradition, but the precise origin of this festive treat is unclear. According to some historical sources, bakers in Lombardy used to bake sweet bread once a year for Christmas, as it was a special occasion.
There are many legends about the origin of panettone. According to some, there once was an aristocratic falconer from Milan named Ughetto. He fell in love with Algisa, the daughter of a baker. In order to impress her father, he started working as an apprentice in his bakery. One day, he baked a cake he invented himself, using just flour, butter, eggs, honey and raisins. It was a great success and soon after Ughetto and Algisa got married and lived happily.
Another legend tells us that the panettone was created during a banquet organised by Duke Ludovico Sforza. In that occasion, his chef inadvertently burnt the dessert. Everyone in kitchen was panicking, but Toni, a young apprentice, offered to serve a humble cake he had made that morning. Ludovico Sforza and his guests were delighted and asked the chef what that dessert was. The chef told them that is was ‘il pan del Toni’ (Toni’s bread). And this is how the name originated as well.
We will probably never know who really invented the panettone and under which circumstances, however we are certainly grateful for having it every year on our Christmas table!