I didn’t even know what panettone was or how it’s made until I recently had the opportunity to sample Bauducco Panettone. A type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan, panettone is traditionally enjoyed most during Christmas and New Year served with sweet hot beverages or wine. In some regions of Italy, it is served with crema di mascarpone, a cream made from mascarpone and eggs along with a sweet liqueur such as Amaretto.
Northern Italian immigrants to Argentina and Brazil brought their love of panettone along where it is now enjoyed with hot cocoa or liquor during the holidays. In some regions, it is now more popular than King cake. One such emigre who most successfully introduced it to Brazil was Carlos Bauducco. Starting out in 1952 as a small baker in Sao Paulo, Carlo Bauducco promoted his first batch of holiday treats to Brazilian customers by scattering flyers from an airplane. The company grew steadily, opening its first factory in 1962, and started to export baked goods to the United States in 1979. Bauducco is now the largest panettone producer in the world.
Making panettone is actually a long process which involves curing the dough similar to sourdough preparation. Proofing gives the cake its distinctive fluffy texture. Candied orange, citron, and lemon zest, as well as raisins, are the typical ingredients added dry and not soaked. Bauducco Panettone takes 52 hours to make due to the natural fermentation and cooling process which yields a super moist panettone. The one I tried much to my delight was filled with Hershey’s Chocolate Chips. I enjoyed it most toasted which produced a crisp warm treat that literally melted in my mouth. I could still taste the fruity aspect to this cake even with chocolate as the only filling.