A Petite Portion of Panettone

Up until today, I had never tried panettone, pronounced (pan-neh-tone-nay), the Italian bread which is traditionally given as a gift at Christmastime.

For my first taste, I bought a small box for only $2, with a little loaf inside.  I deliberately chose a small one, because I wasn’t sure I would like it.  Panettone is sort of dome-shaped and comes in a cup/liner made of brown paper similar to a cupcake liner.

Here is the mini panettone -- it is about the size of a large muffin.

When I took the panettone out of the wrapper, I was surprised by the delicious, fruity aroma.  I wasn’t expecting the fresh scent of orange peel to come wafting out of a package that had been sitting on a store shelf.  As you can see in this photo, the loaf is studded with orange peel and dried fruit.

The scent of panettone reminded me of Fig Newtons, and orange peel, of course.

The texture of panettone is similar to coffee cake, and it seemed both light and dense at the same time.  A weird contrast, I know.  The fruit flavors are not intense, and stay in the background until you bite into a raisin or other dried fruit.

I sliced the tiny loaf in half so the fruit inside was visible. I can't wait to get a larger one!

I have heard that Italians eat panettone with coffee and tea and I can see why.  I think that a nice slice of panettone would make a delicious French toast for breakfast.

I’m so glad that I tried panettone before the Christmas holiday so that I can go back to the store and stock up!  I’m a big fan now!

Have you ever tried panettone or used it in a recipe?  What did you think?