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Christmas is coming and we are waiting for the Christmas eve dinner and Christmas lunch. Why Panettone must be on the menu? Because it’s the authentic icon of Christmas table. But.. what’s the story of Panettone? And.. how to make the best choice? The codeword is always craftsmanship.
In Italy Panettone comes with an often varied history, but one that invariably states that its birthplace was Milan. The word “panettone” derives from the Italian word “panetto”, a small loaf cake. The augmentative Italian suffix “-one” changes the meaning to “large cake”. The origins of this cake appear to be ancient, dating back to the Roman Empire, when ancient Romans sweetened a type of leavened cake with honey.
A legend tells of a story that takes place in the 15th century when Ludovico il Moro was the Duke of Milan. It begins, one evening when the Duke’s cook was asked to prepare a delicious banquet, for himself and a number of nobles. The cook was successful in his feast, however, he had forgotten about the dessert in the oven, which had burnt by the time he realized. The cook was in despair but thankfully the little kitchen boy, Toni, suggested using the sweet cake he had made for himself in the morning using flour, butter, eggs, lime zest, and raisins. The cook was afraid he had no other solutions, so agreed to offer the cake to the guests. They both nervously stood behind the door to see the reactions of the Duke’s friends. To the cook’s relief, everybody loved the cake. The Duke enjoyed it so much that he asked for its name. The cook responded “L’è ‘l pan de Toni”, meaning the bread of Toni. The name has since evolved to Panettone.
But.. there’s another side to the story. The Peduzzi family (with Gaetano Sergiacomo, founder of Rustichella d’Abruzzo in 1924 and grandfather of the current Owners Maria Stefania e Gianluigi Peduzzi) moved from Valle d’Intelvi (Como) to Chieti (Abruzzo) in 1800, bringing with them all the Lombard culinary influences and starting the generation of high quality Food & Wine.
THE ARTISANAL PRODUCTION OF RUSTICHELLA D’ABRUZZO PANETTONE
Our special ingredient for making high quality Panettone is natural sourdough starter yeast, a mixture of flour and water. Each day throughout the entire year (including holidays), 10 kg of dough known as the Starter is prepared. It is composed exclusively of flour, water and 1 kg from the previous days Starter. New regulations that take into account the traditional recipe govern the production system and seek to mantain the distinctiveness of the product. The productive process of our Panettone consists in 10 steps:
- First mixing – the initial preparation is carried out in the Dough Department, which is a space designated exclusively to the production of dough and must meet certain technical requirements. The starter described above is placed in special mixers together with flour, water, sugar, and egg mix
- First rising – after the dough has achieved, a certain degree of uniformity it is placed in special containers for at least 2 hours and left to rise
- Second mixing – after ensuring that the dough has riser sufficiently, it is placed back into special mixers together with flour, sugar, water, egg mix and compressed yeast
- Second rising – the second rising takes about 1 hour
- Emulsion – meanwhile, another special machine is used to mix butter, sugar, glucose, water, milk in the amounts required by the recipe being prepared
- Cutting – at this point, the entire production batch is moved to the Baking Department where the first operation performed is that of manually cutting a cross on the top of Panettone to facilitate the final rising
- Final mixture – after ensuring that the dough has riser sufficiently, it is placed back into special mixers along with flours, sugar, egg mix, egg yolks, the emulsion previously prepared, salt, raisins, candied citrus peels, natural flavourings in the amounts required by the recipe being prepared and to obtain a final mixture of about 400 kg of Panettone dough
- Third rising – the uncooked Panettone are stored for at least 7 hours in special climate-controllated chambers at 34°C and 60% humidity to allow them to rise further; in the meantime, systematic checks are performed (including test baking), to supervise the increase in dough volume so the Panettone is deemed to have risen sufficiently when the uncooked cake rises to the upper edge of the baking cup
- Baking – the uncooked Panettone are the placed in an oven that automatically cooks them for a little more than an hour at different temperatures so that, in addition to cooking, the cakes continue to rise and form a sufficiently large dome above the baking “cups”
- Packaging – package, made by the Rustichella Owner Maria Stefania Peduzzi, is refined and elegant
Aside from the classic taste, Rustichella d’Abruzzo proposes other real proper pleasures for your palate: the typical Black Cherry Panettone, for those who don’t like raisin and candied fruits (but don’t want to renounce to the tastiness of the typical Christmas sweet), or Figs and Chocolate Panettone, candied fruits and raisins free, made of irresistible dark chocolate drops and dry dotted figs from Cosenza. A tasty voyage discovering of Bella Italia from north to south, from the knowledge of the Pastry Master to the generosity of the sun that kisses the most desirable fruits of Italy.