Updated: Dec 29, 2021
Panettone (in Lombard panetùn or panetòn) is a typical Milanese dessert, associated with the gastronomic traditions of Christmas and widely spread throughout Italy and the world.
The origin of this extraordinary creation is shrouded in legend. Historically we know that people around the world have enjoyed sweet bread made with leavened dough and honey since the first century. But the "modern day" panettone probably emerged for the first time from the ovens of medieval Milan: the writer Giorgio Valagussa wrote in the 1970s that the Duke of Milan used to serve a slice to the members of his family on the eve of Christmas.
“Panettone exerts a prodigious charm of gluttony, not only on children, but on the charming girl, on the gallant and capricious woman, on the mature and serious lady, on the rude man, in short, on everyone”.
In the 15th century, panettone was unleavened, a dessert with a not very distinctive flavor. Starting from the 1800s, the use of yeast has increased its shape and flavor and the addition of candied fruit has ignited a sweet spark. With growing popularity came greater creativity, and by the Belle Époque, trendy Milanese patisseries began to compete by creating panettone with ever more artistic decorations.
Milanese pastry shops
Cucchi pastry shop is one of the oldest pastry shops in the city, with a retro and familiar taste. Part of the historic shops, founded in 1936 and managed by the third generation of the owner family, it bakes one of the most loved panettone by the Milanese all year round, the traditional classic with double leavening that makes it soft and delicious.
Cova pastry shop, is one of the oldest cafes in the city, it was born as a literary café on the corner of the Teatro alla Scala and was the favorite of the composer Giuseppe Verdi. Here the panettone can be found all year round, from 500 gr to 10 kg. The true uniqueness of this pastry shop remains in the tradition of decorated panettone, where Santa Claus takes on a different guise every year and is admired by young and old in the shop windows of via Montenapoleone.