As the Christmas season approaches in Tuscany the shelves in the shops and bakeries are starting to bend under the load of thousands of Panettone, the large muffin shaped sweet bread loaf. There are literally dozens of varieties to choose from with options for all tastes and budgets.
Like many things in Italy there is always more than one version of the story of origin and Panettone is no exception. Panettone comes with a varied back story but the one common tread is its origin in Milan. The etymology of its name however has a number of options the most straight forward, if a little boring, of which is that it derives from the Italian word "panetto", a small loaf cake. The addition of the Italian suffix "-one" (pronounced "o-neh") changes the meaning to "large cake". For those who prefer a more colourful explanation there are plenty to choose from and are as varied as the types of Panettone themselves.
Panettone is quite delicious by itself but if you want to get creative then I can recommend two of our family favourites both of which come courtesy of Jamie Oliver. http://www.jamieoliver.com/
Winter pudding bombe:
Panettone bread and butter pudding:
If you decide to give these recipes a try good luck and enjoy.