Milan’s traditional Christmas cake
Some 40 master pastrycooks from all over Italy will welcome visitors with tasty samples of one of Milan’s best-known traditions on Saturday and Sunday, 29-30 November, at the seventh 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 artifical additives.
Respecting these rules, say the organisers, guarantees a fresh product which will not have the long shelf-life of industrially produced panettoni. The true story of its invention is not definitely known, but competing traditions tell of an apprentice pastrycook 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.
Cakes will be on sale at a fixed price for all exhibitors of €20 per kilo, maintaining the same price as in previous years.
Entrance will be by invitation, which can be downloaded from the exhibition website. The festival is open from 10.00 to 20.00 on Saturday and from 10.00 to 19.00 on Sunday.