Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Panettone, the traditional Ticino holiday dessert

No Ticinese or Italian Christmas festivites would be complete without the traditional panettone. This sweet bread "gugelhopf" comes in all kinds of varieties; with or without raisins and candied fruit, drenched in limoncello or filled with chocolate chips. Panettone when eaten with a sip of sparkling spumante or Prosecco, guarantees good luck and good health for the coming year.

There are numerous myths and mysteries surrounding the origins of Panettone. It comes with a rich and varied history. One states that its birthplace is Milan. It appeared in Northern Italy around the 15th century. One legend says a Milanese nobleman Ughetto degli Atellani fell in love with the daughter of a poor baker named Antonio. To win her over, the nobleman disguised himself as a baker and invented a rich bread in which he added to the flour and yeast, butter, eggs, dried raisins and candied lemon and orange peel. After having the bread, the duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro Sforza (1452 – 1508), agreed to the marriage, and encouraged the introduction of the new cake-like bread.
Other historians, as far back as the 1300s, claim to have found references to “pan dei ton” which means ‘luxury bread’, in Milanese dialect.

Should you feel up to an outing to the georgous Valle Maggia (which is one of Ticino's main tourist attractions in Summer) you could combine your trip with a visit to the Bakery Poncini.
Are you interested in baking a "panettone" yourself ? Here there is a great opportunity you can share with friends or family (12-25 persons)! During your visit, you will find Poncini's specialty "panettone" and its derivatives such as "panettone Nostrano" the Veneziana, the Colombia, the Triestina with chocolate chips, the Triestina with chestnuts and the Delizia with apricot . If Panettone is not your thing, you can also enjoy their delicious Kirsch Amarettis and Amaretti Bianchi.
Let yourself be surprised by their recipes and their production of natural and homemade specialties!

For a tour and tasting contact: Bakery Poncini, 6673 Maggia. Reservations required: 091/753 13 20.

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