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Panettone: A story of romance, tragedy, and triumph.

7 Sep 2022



In Milan at Christmastime, it isn't the department store windows that boast the most exciting festive displays; it's the bakeries with their lavish presentations of traditional panettone. But where did this rich, sweet bread come from and how did it become the typical Italian Christmas dessert?

The true story of panettone's origin may well have been lost to history but in its absence, some fantastic legends have emerged over time. 

Tragedy turned triumph

One story tracks panettone's origin back to 1495. During the preparations for the luxurious Christmas banquet given by the Duke of Milan, one of the desserts was burnt.

A young cook, called Toni, decided to quickly make a replacement using a brick of sourdough he had kept aside for Christmas. Adding flour, eggs, and sugar, he produced a leavened and soft dough which resulted in a rich brioche bread that was filled with raisins and candied fruit.

The new recipe was a huge success; it was so adored by the Duke that the Sforza family named the recipe 'Pane di Toni' after its creator.

A Milanese romance

Another more romantic legend tells the story of a Ughetto degli Atellani, a rich Milanese man who fell deeply in love with a woman named Adalgisa. Adalgisa was the daughter of a poor baker which meant he was forbidden from marrying her.

To win her hand in marriage, Ughetto disguised himself and took a job in Adalgisa's father's bakery. He decided to create a sweet bread to sell at the bakery, later adding candied fruit and raisins.

This new creation was a revelation and the bakery became renowned throughout Milan as a result. With the newfound respect and wealth Ughetto brought to his love's family, he was finally allowed to marry the woman he loved. 

However this traditional recipe was created, the importance of Panettone for Italians and millions of people around the world can't be over-emphasised. Panettone purists have even started a petition on to have panettone recognized as a valuable cultural artefact by Unesco, protecting the traditions for years to come.

Not only is panettone an authentic and delicious Italian dessert but the legend behind it and the cultural legacy that persists make this a truly special recipe.

Our Puratos Technical Advisors have put together a collection of panettone recipes for you to try, each with a slightly different spin depending on different consumer needs.

Distinctive, delicious, and closest to the recipe of legend this authentic recipe is the perfect opportunity to delight customers with the incredible stories at the heart of Panettone.

How about transforming a panettone into an elegant fine cake that will surely intrigue and excite your customers? It’s a complete makeover with a touch of a classic panettone inside. 

Consumers are much more aware of the environmental impact that their purchasing decisions make than ever before. We created this panettone with sustainable and ethical Belcolade Selection Cacao-Trace chocolate.

This panettone with caramel cream and apricot is made with tegral dolcinote and passionata which is 30% lower in fat than dairy-based creams.

Looking for more ways to make this festive season as successful as possible?

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