Pastry For A Joyful Event: Italian Christmas Cake Panettone!

I can’t think of another time that is more joyful than Christmas. Happiness surrounds everywhere!

It is a tradition for Italians to have a big feast with family! This year we gathered together, and had a big long Christmas lunch! We had everything that is typical for celebration: cold cut platter, lasagne, tiramisu, and the most important PANETTONE!


Talking about panettone, I have always been curious about its history and tried to find the “official” version of its origin. But it seems there are quite many stories coming around this typical pastry, talked by different people. There are three versions that I’ve read from ITALY magazine, which I found are really interesting:

I. It is about LOVE

A nobleman Ughetto failed in love with a girl Adalgisa, the daughter of a baker whose business was not doing well. Since Ughetto’s family was against him seeing this poor girl, he decided to take a job at the bakery in order to continue seeing Adalgisa. One day he bought some butter and sugar, and mix them into the dough to bake. The pastry then became so popular, which helped the baker’s business a lot. One day near Christmas, Ughetto made an upgrade version by adding some raisin into the bread mix, and made the most popular pastry ever! It was actually so popular that made the baker’s business thriving again.

This pastry, panettone, saved the baker’s business, as well as Ughetto and Adalgisa’s love!

II. It is about HONESTY

A chef, who was in charge of the Christmas celebration of Duke Ludovico, accidentally burned the dessert. With no dessert to serve and the chef being desperate, a boy named Toni approached to the chef, offering a sweet loaf baked out of some left-overs. The chef accepted this offer, and served the cake to dinner. It turned out a big success, and the Duke sent lots of compliments. Knowing the cake wasn’t baked by himself, the chef told the Duke that it was Toni who actually made this desert.

So Panettone actually stands for Pane-di-Toni (Toni’s bread).


The 3rd version said that panettone was not from Ughetto, but his sister who was a nun. During Christmas in order to cheer up the spirits of her fellow holy sisters, she baked a cake by adding peels and fruit into the dough, and cut a crucifix shape in top. When this cake was served in the Christmas feast, its opened-up cupola crust added a cheerful air within the community.

There are still other versions about the legend of Panettone. No matter which one is true or which version you choose to believe, the stories are all about love, joy, and sharing the happiness around. Let us all be a happy person, and pass the joy to our beloved ones!

Santa made of strawberries

This post is theming Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s