Updated for 2016!
It’s December and with Christmas right around the corner, there’s one treat we can’t get out of our heads (or our hands!): panettone! This fluffy brioche cake that is practically synonymous with Milan is made from eggs, flour, butter sugar, raisins and candied fruits.
These cylindrical shaped Christmas cakes with mushroom-like tops have started popping up left and right at all the pasticcerie around Italy, both a good and a bad thing as there are both deliciously authentic and mass-produced options available. If you’re local, we have collected five of the best pastry shops where to buy panettone in and around Milan.
If you’re not local, where do you begin? How do you discern the good from the not-so-good? Well fear not! We sought advice from our lovely friend and panettone expert Lydia Capasso, writer for Gastronomia Mediterranea, archeologist and all-around awesome lady who was one of the judges for GazzaGolosa’s Best Panettone in Italy.
We asked Lydia for some tips on how to make sure your panettone falls into the good (not the not-so-good) category. She advises starting with sight and smell as those senses can discern quality in addition to taste:
- All of the dough must be leavened first; the upper cap should not have any cracks or imperfections and should only exceed the paper cup lining by no more than the width of 2 or 3 fingers.
- Once the panettone is cut open, the bubbles produced during the rising must be regular and elongated; the presence of large bubbles is a sign of poor workmanship.
- The cake inside should be soft and moist.
- The candied fruits and raisins should be evenly distributed and soft.
- The panettone should smell like butter, along with an intense, pleasant aroma of candied fruit.
- Once tasted the cake should not have a strange aftertaste that indicates the presence of artificial flavors or low quality fat.
- Homemade panettone almost always has a cross engraved on the top of the cap and, if you look hard enough, four small holes at the bottom as it’s usually cooled upside down hanging from two iron rods.
In no particular order, here are five pastry stops where to buy panettone in and around Milan, all approved by Lydia. :)
Located in Abbiategrasso, a charming quintessential Italian town about a 30-minute drive from Milan. Andrea Besuschio prepares some at his pastry shop that has received nationwide acclaim.
Piazza Marconi, 59 Abbiategrasso (MI); + 39 02 94966479
Thursday through Tuesday: 8am – 8pm Closed Wednesday
PANIFICIO DAVIDE LONGONI
Bread master Davide Longoni has a way with panettone, too.
Via Tiraboschi 19; +39 02 9163 8069
Tuesday – Friday: 7.30am – 10.30pm
Saturday: 8am – 10.30pm
Sunday: 8.30am – 1.30pm
Monday: 7.30am – 3pm
Placed on Gazza Golosa’s Best Panettone in Italy competition!
Via Cagliero, 14; + 39 02.66986634
Open Seven Days: 7.30am – 8.30pm
Via Paolo Sarpi, 64; + 39 02 9926 5069
Open Seven Days: 7.30am – 8pm
One of our favorite places for anything sweet, Pave makes an awesome panettone, available in both classic and a chocolate flavored.
Via Felice Casati, 27; + 39 02 94392259
Open: Tuesday– Friday: 8am to 8pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8.30am to 7pm
A classic pastry shop dating back to 1842 puts forth one of our favorite classics.
Via S. Maria alla Porta 11/a; +39 02.862770
Monday – Saturday: 7.30am – 8.00pm
Sunday: 8.3 am – 1pm
Via Monte Napoleone 9; +39 02.76008238
Monday – Sunday: 7.30am – 9pm
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II; +39 02.94181710
Monday – Sunday 7.30am – 9pm
This venerated gourmet institution sells panettone year-round and during the holidays, they offer two flavors in addition to the classic: orange, ginger and pineapple as well as chocolate and pear.
Via Spadari, 9; +39 3902 802 3161
Monday – Thursday: 9am – 8pm
Friday: 8.30am – 8pm
Saturday: 7.30am – 7.30pm
Sunday: 10am – 7pm
Placed in Gazza Golossa Best Panettoni in Italy contest.
106, Via Roma in Pioltello (outskirts of Milan); +39 02 92105824