A Perfect Holiday Treat: Panettone With Sweet Wine

My bonus daughter loves tiramisu. I can’t imagine going out to dinner at an Italian restaurant with her and not having that traditional dessert completing her meal.

But as the holiday season approaches, I start looking forward to another Italian delicacy. It’s a traditional holiday cake called panettone (pronounced “pan-eh-tone-ay”).

Nobody knows for sure where or how this holiday cake originated. You can find numerous unsubstantiated legends online, and most make for good reading, even if they’re not entirely or even partially true.

Panettone is defined, in large part, by its dough, which takes several days to prepare via a curing process. Other ingredients include candied orange, citron, lemon zest and raisins.

One of the attractions, at least for me, is that panettone has some sweet ingredients but is not overly sweet once baked. Depending on where you buy it, you’ll find it in a box or a tin — or, if your favorite Italian restaurant makes it, on a plate, often with a dollop of whipped cream added. Some people like to add a spoonful or two of berries.

Because the cake is not super-sweet, it pairs beautifully with sweet or semi-sweet wines.

That makes for a truly decadent dessert, and it’s probably a good thing for my waistline that the cake is available only a few weeks out of the year. But if you get the opportunity to try a slice of panettone with a glass of sweet wine, you may never think of tiramisu the same way again.

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Posted in Editor's Journal, Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes

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