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When Christmas arrives, the tables of Italians are filled with traditional food and sweets: not only pandoro and panettone, considered abroad as the symbol of Christmas in Italy, but many specialties made in our country, from north to south.
In large cities, as in villages and valleys, the proposal of typical sweets is truly varied. So let's start this mini tour of typical Italian Christmas sweets, from the best known to the least known.
Italian Christmas sweets: Italy's symbolic delicacies
The sweet Christmas specialties of the Belpaese start from northern Italy with the Veronese pandoro and the Lombard panettone, the most famous in the world, but we also find the Piedmontese Christmas log and the Emilian Carthusian, up to go down to the center, with the Tuscan panforte and the Lazio pangiallo, to arrive then in the south, with the Neapolitan struffoli, the Apulian cartellate, the Calabrian chini figs and the Sicilian cubaita. Forget about calories during Christmas Hollidays and enjoy this culinary journey through the flavors of the holidays, among irresistible aromas and delicacies.
The Panettone – (invented in Milan)
Panettone is the typical Milanese dessert made with a leavened dough based on flour, water, mother yeast, eggs, butter, candied fruit, citron and orange peel and raisins. To make it famous, even the classic champagne cork shape. But why is it called that? Its name derives from “Pan de Toni”, taking its cue from its inventor Toni, a scullery boy who served at the Court of Ludovico il Moro.
Legend has it that the dessert was born in the fifteenth century following an accident in the kitchen: the head chef of the Sforza, had in fact burned the cake prepared for the Christmas banquet. Toni himself took care of saving everything who, with leftover mother yeast, mixed with flour, eggs, sugar, cedar and raisins, created what we all know today as the symbol of Christmas, appreciated all over the world.
On Pinocchios Pantry you can find a wide selection of panettone, from the classic taste with raisins and candied fruit, to those with alamond, coffee cream, chocolate, pistachio or limoncello.
The Pandoro – (Invented in Verona)
Pandoro is a typical dessert of Verona, another symbol of Italian Christmas in the worl. Its very soft dough, the scent of vanilla and its typical trunk shape, covered with icing sugar, have made the Pandoro one of the most loved Christmas Sweets by Italians. The basic ingredients of the preparation are flour, sugar, eggs, butter, yeast and cocoa butter: a recipe that was born in the nineteenth century as a variant of Nadalin, a typical Verona dessert of the thirteenth century. However, its birth has a precise date: 14 October 1894, when Domenico Melegatti filed the official patent of this very soft and fragrant dessert, still considered today a timeless Christmas symbol. Its name, on the other hand, dates back to the times of the Venetian Republic, when a typical dessert called "Pan de oro" (Golden Bread) was offered.
The Torrone can be crunchy or soft, with hazelnuts and chocolate or almonds and honey. Loved by adults and children, Christmas would not be the same without the Torrone on the Italian dinner tables. Originally Tortone was not made to delight Christmas days, in the past it was a dessert that was eaten daily. In reality, how it came to be a symbol of the Italian Christmas holidays is not clear, as indeed its origin, is surrounded by mystery.
There are many stories and legends that attribute the birth of the Torrone to a specific country or people. In a broader sense of the term, Torrone is one of the oldest sweets in the world, because it is created by combining honey, sugar, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts; all genuine ingredients that have always been known.
The torrone is one of the most popular Christmas sweets in Italian homes, who make great feasts of it in all tastes and in all formats. Torrone became a Cghristmas sweets probably because of the basic ingredient of the recipe is grown: almonds. The fruits of the almond tree, in fact, reach maturity and are harvested starting from the end of August and throughout the month of September, being able to be used for the preparation of desserts only in the following months.
The origins of Torrone in Italy The origins of Torrone, like those of many other traditional products, are shrouded in legend. His date of birth could be traced back to 1441, on the occasion of the sumptuous wedding between Bianca Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza, which took place in Cremona. For that occasion a dessert called Torrone appeared for the first time on a table. Its shape was similar to the Torrazzo, the bell tower of the city cathedral.
Torrone as toasted almonds mixed with a sweet paste based on honey, sugar and egg white, with the addition of flavorings or not, is considered a traditional product throughout all the Lower Lombardy region. However the city that claims the oldest appearance of the Torrone is Benevento, the main center of the Sannio region in the south of Italy. according to a local tradition this dessert already existed in the first century AD. with the name of cupedia.
The Different Types of Torrone Generally there are 2 main types of Torrone: hard and soft, depending on the degree of cooking and the ratio between honey and sugars, almond and hazelnut nougats. The most classic format of nougat is the stick, of the most different sizes, which is divided into portions with parallel cuts. A more recent formula, perhaps of Sicilian invention, is the soft version covered with chocolate, and flavored with different scents.
On Pinocchios Pantry you can find the most delicious Torrone types for your Christmas holidays: withe, dark or milk chocolate, with almonds, hazelnuts or orange peel, but don't forget also to try the one with raisin and rum.
Not Only Sweets: the Christmas tradition of Cotechino
In Italy Cotechino is one of the traditional Christmas dishes and is its presence is almost inevitable in every self- respecting Christmas menu, especially on New Year's Eve, when it is historically accompanied by lentils: According with the Italian tradition eating a portion of cotechino and lentills before midnight is a good omen for the new year and will bring luck and wealth. Cotechino is served hot, usually with a nice side dish of mashed potatoes, lentils or spinach. But this salami is suitable for various types of recipes: in Veneto it is also served alongside other boiled meats or cooked cabbage. In Emilia it is also accompanied with a zabaglione prepared with white wine and vinegar. We also recommend serving it next to a good mustard in the pure Mantuan or Cremonese style, together with a good Lambrusco wine, in order to enhance its pleasantness and spiciness.
Here at Pinocchio's pantry we have chosen for you the traditional Cotechino di Modena IGP Golfera, produced with Italian pork and selected spices. Gluten-free and lactose-free. Buy now on Pinocchios Pantry all the typical Italian Christmas foods and delight all your guests during the holidays with the specialties and sweets of the "Belpaese".