Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Italy’s festive sweet treats

Just like much of the western world, Italians love to indulge their taste-buds at Christmas with special treats, and for many, the sweeter the better.
The family staple is the panettone, a sweet bread loaf with a tall dome shape that originated in Milan. It’s made from a dough that is cured for several days to give it a distinctive, fluffy texture. It’s packed full of candied fruit, including orange, lemon and raisins and in some parts of Italy is served with delicious muscarpone. If you want to give yourself a challenge, try and make a panforte. Literally a ‘strong bread’ its packed full of fruit. Harking from Siena, it’s not considered genuine unless it has exactly 17 ingredients – one for each ward of the city. While you’ll find most of these consistent, every chef adds their own secret ones too, the challenge is making it your own. Then there’s torrone. Often served as a dessert over Christmas, torrone is a tasty nougat made from eggs, honey and nuts. It’s been made the same way for centuries, but variations in the recipe mean you can choose it soft and chewy or hard and brittle, with a splash of your favourite flavouring.
And if none of those take your fancy, don’t worry, Christmas still has plenty of room for tiramisu, best biscotti and panna cotta.

Buon Appetito!