At the mere mention of “Christmas Cake” most people think of something dense and inedible — well, clearly these people have not had the pleasure of the Panettone, a sweetened, fluffy and buttery bread with dried fruit, candied lemon, and orange peel. In Peru, the Panettone is insanely popular, especially during the Christmas season.
There are many theories as to the origin of the Panettone, but all of them point to Milan, Italy, as its birthplace, where the Motta family developed a popular recipe. When growing up in Peru, I remember seeing pyramids of stacked Panettones — Motta versus D’Onofrio on opposite street corners, each one trying to outsell the other.
We would always buy a bunch, to spread the cheer and gift to friends and family. Here in California, I am delighted to find Italian Panettones in my local market so that I can gift them to my friends. And since today is the first of December, I am celebrating with one of my favorite traditions — a slice of Panettone with butter and hot chocolate — warm, sweet, buttery — a truly simple pleasure from my childhood.