CHIAVARI, Italy – The countdown to Christmas has started and grocery stores shelves are filled cookies and cakes and holiday goodies of every type.
Every region has its own particular Christmas specialty like struffoli in Naples and panforte in Sienna, but in the north Christmas is not Christmas without panettone, that big pillow of a bread studded with juicy raisins and other good stuff.
Legend has it that panettone was developed in Milan in the 1400’s. That’s probably true. For the rest of the story, that it was first made by a baker named Tony to impress his girlfriend - well, that's more fiction than fact. What’s is true though is you'd be hard pressed to find a Christmas Day meal in northern Italy that will not end with a slice of the raisin rich eggy bread and a flute of sparkling Prosecco wine.
Because panettone tastes so good, Italians tend to forgive it for being such a plain Jane. There's not much you can do to glam up this humble sweet bread, but you have to give the fashion conscious Milanese credit for trying.
Here's a collection of photos showing some of the more elegant panettone offerings on the market during the holiday season.
|It Starts Out Like This|
|There Can Never Be Too Many Panettone|
|Panettone All Dressed Up|
|The Kids Will Love This|
|This is Special|
|Let's Get This Party Started|
|Panettone and Prosecco - Perfect!|