Milan crowns ‘King Panettone’

26-27 Nov. Milan’s traditional Christmas cake.

Some 40 master pastry cooks from all over Italy will welcome visitors with tasty samples of one of Milan’s best-known traditions on Saturday and Sunday, 26-27 November, at the ninth edition of the King Panettone festival.

The cake, with its origins in the 9th century, has strict rules on ingredients and preparation. All ingredients must be natural, free of preservatives, emulsion aids and other artificial additives. Respecting these rules, say the organisers, guarantees a fresh product which will not have the long shelf-life of industrially produced panettoni. Samples are free, and cakes to take away will be on sale at a fixed price for all exhibitors of €25 per kilo.

An added attraction this year will be cooking lessons for kids from 8 to 13 years costing €10, bookable on the festival website.

The true story of Panettone's invention is not definitely known, but competing traditions tell of an apprentice pastry cook trying to impress his employer in order to win his fair daughter’s hand, or of a kitchen hand at the service of Ludovico il Moro who had put together a cake out of odds and ends in the pantry, and who saved the day when his boss, Ludovico’s chef, accidentally burned the dessert he had prepared for an important Christmas party. The boy was called Antonio or Toni, and hence the name “pane di Toni” or panettone.

Entrance is  by invitation, which can be downloaded from the exhibition website, or visitors can sign up at the door. The festival, held at MegaWatt in Via Watt 15, is open from 10.00 to 20.00 on Saturday and from 10.00 to 19.00 on Sunday. There is a free shuttle bus service to the festival from metro station Famagusta.

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Milan crowns ‘King Panettone’

MegaWatt in Via Watt 15