Food trends, Gourmet food

PANETTONE VS PANDORO: THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS DEBATE

20/12/2021

In Christmas gatherings all over the world many are the topics that get relatives and friends converse for long hours. The same happens here in Italy; yet, be it due to our natural inclination for passionate discussions or to the engrained love for good food that make us all expert in something culinary, chances are that the old dilemma between Panettone and Pandoro may well heat up the conversation at the end of a meal.

The two most loved Christmas desserts have been fighting to win the hearts of the Italians since marketing and logistics made them available throughout the country. In fact, these mouth-watering cakes originate in two different parts of Italy. The history of Panettone dates back to the Ancient Romans who used to sweeten a type of leavened bread with honey, but it is the city of Milan – thanks to the creativity of a cook working at the court of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, at the end of the 15th century – that can claim the paternity of the recipe we know nowadays. Pandoro, on the other hand, is a specialty from Verona. The origins of this “golden cake” (this is what the word Pandoro means) can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when this sort of sweetened bread – made by the best bakers in town, with the finest wheat and quality eggs and milk – was the sophisticated dessert of choice of noble and wealthy families. Its delicate flavor made it become mainstream in the late 17th century and definitely popular by the turn of the 18th century.

Despite the festive season not being exactly the right time to talk about calories, it may be interesting to know that, from a nutritional point of view, Pandoro is slightly richer than Panettone: a serving contains about 400 calories while its rival from Milan – despite the candied fruit it contains – provides, on average, 360 calories per serving.

According to recent statistics, Panettone is loved by 46% of Italians, while Pandoro is preferred by 37% of them. The third place of the ultimate Christmas cake competition goes to a miscellany of other typical local sweets which account for 17%. On a larger scale, Panettone beats Pandoro also when it comes to export: Brazil imports on average nearly 350 tons of it every year and one of the most famous groceries store in the United Kingdom has just registered an astounding +59% in its sales. Even abroad artisanal products are very much preferred over commercial ones thus confirming the current trend of conscious consumers choosing quality over quantity.

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