History of panettone
The panettone is the sweet symbol of Christmas. It was born in Italy in the Lombardy region. Its origins are very ancient. For the winter solstice the pagan populations used to burn a large log of wood in the fireplace and this ceremony was accompanied by the home-made bread enriched with spices, dried fruit and honey.
With the centuries these traditions began to coincide with the celebration of Christmas: the ancestor of the panettone was increasingly present on the tables on feast days. There are several legends about the name of the panettone and its origins. The most famous one takes us back to the court of the Sforza family in Milan in the mid 1500s, where during the sumptuous Christmas banquet of Ludovico il Moro, the cook burns his cake. He saves his apprentice “Toni” from being sentenced to death, offering diners a sweet bread enriched with dried fruit and honey. The success at court is great and the new dessert is baptized “Pan del Toni”, which in time will become “panettone”.
The etymology of the name could also be linked to the Milanese dialect of the past with which the rich bread, produced for parties, was identified with the formula “Pan FR ton”. The Milanese industry (Motta and Alemagna) was the first to make panettone famous all over Italy and then all over the world, and in the 1950s it was the Milanese industry that launched the production of panettone on a large scale. With shrewd advertising campaigns and on the wave of the economic boom, panettone became the king of Christmas sweets.
At the beginning of the 80s of the twentieth century the panettone returns as a protagonist in the bakery and pastry shops because the customers, tired of the mass products it contains – for obvious reasons of production and conservation of chemical agents – prefer to choose the handmade product packaged with selected raw materials and as natural as possible. Born in the wood-fired ovens of the houses by the expert hands of the women of the house, perfected over the centuries by the bakers in their shops, then marketed by the industry, in recent decades the panettone has once again become an important product in the production of the workshops of master bakers and pastry chefs. Its processing is very complex because at the base of the success of a good panettone there is the mother dough. From the experience over the years, from the numerous written treatises and scientific information derived from studies carried out by the confectionery industry, it can be said that producing a good panettone is an art.
Panettone in Ticino
Panettone has become one of the confectionery specialities that best represents the Canton of Ticino in Switzerland, but also abroad. In Ticino, the panettone is produced all year round and is very much appreciated in many variations linked to the seasons. The Canton of Ticino, whose Lombard cultural roots cannot be forgotten, represents at the same time a crossroads of Nordic and Southern confectionery cultures thanks to its geographical position. The success of the panettone from Ticino, produced in an artisan way and with great professionalism, has contributed to constantly improve its quality, which is increasingly appreciated by consumers.
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