Panettone: a truly Italian Christmas tradition
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Panettone: A Truly Italian Christmas Tradition

Nov 19, 2020
AQUA Forte Offers

Each year during the festive season, families in Italy gather to celebrate Christmas and New Year, and with it, a long list of traditions that follow, from decorating the tree to preparing a traditional feast. One of these traditions include indulging in a festive serving of Panettone, a sweet Italian bread. For us Italians, the unique fragrant aroma of panettone is immediately associated to Christmas time and is indissolubly linked to sweet memories and festive moments. It is also a typical gift we bring when visiting family and friends.

What is Panettone?


Panettone is a sweet Italian Christmas bread that originated in Milan in the fifteenth century during the Renaissance period, it became famous in the early 1900’s, when more mass production started, and has since become the symbol of baked Italian goods. Panettone is served during Christmas and New Year in almost every household in Italy. While it is now prepared in many different variations, from hazelnut to Limoncello, the classic Panettone, with only raisin and candied citruses, is still the favourite.

The secret to the Panettone is not necessarily what it is, but more about how it is made. In fact it may be one of the lightest, fluffiest loaves of sweet bread you will ever have the pleasure of tasting. This is because above all, it is extremely eggy, buttery and can take up to two days to prepare properly.

Head Chef Roberto and the team at AQUA Forte have prepared the classic Panettone to celebrate Christmas and New Year in Sri Lanka, in an authentic Italian way.

The Story of Panettone

While there are many stories that surround this sweet Christmas bread, there is one that stands out the most about Panettone and its origins.

Once upon a time, during the Renaissance era, the Duke of Milan Ludovico Sforza, hosted a luxurious Christmas banquet for many of the nobles in the region. The chef who was in charge of preparing the feast for the night had accidentally left the cake in the oven a bit longer than expected, which resulted in a charred cake. In a desperate attempt to save the chef, a young scullery boy named Toni offered a cake that he had prepared in the morning with what was left in the kitchen, using some sourdough, flour, butter, eggs, cedar peel and raisins; he offered his cake to be served instead. With no other choice but to serve this cake, the trembling chef offered it to the duke and his guests and hid behind a curtain awaiting their reactions.

Everyone was delighted after tasting the slice of cake! When the duke inquired about the name of this new delicacy, the cook who was not prepared for that question, simply stated: “L’è ‘l pan del Toni” – meaning ‘pane di Toni’ (Toni’s bread). And that’s how the name Panettone was derived!

How is Panettone Prepared?

Artisanal made-from-scratch Panettone is very different from the industrial ones that you can find in the supermarket, mainly thanks to the long natural leavening process and the quality fresh ingredients.

To create the perfect Panettone, you need high quality ingredients, expert pastry skills and baking equipment, time and patience. Our artisanal Panettone is made using a traditional Milanese recipe and takes up to 2 days to prepare, including a 36-hour rising time. We source locally the freshest produces like organic gold eggs and we make in house some of the most important ingredients, like candied lemons, candied oranges and citrus natural aroma from fresh fruits and we even make our own butter from fresh cream.

The panettone is prepared in four different phases. In the first one, lasting at least four hours, we prepare the mother yeast (sourdough). This phase requires the full activation of the yeast and is crucial for the quality of the final product that must result soft, moist, fragrant and highly digestible. In the second phase we prepare the first dough using strong flour, yolks, sugar, the natural yeast and water. The ingredients need to be mixed slowly and in a specific order. Once the first dough is ready, it needs to rest and leaven for at least 12 hours, until is about 3 times the initial volume. The second dough is prepared adding to the first one, in different phases, more flour, yolks, butter, sugar, homemade panettone aroma (honey, vanilla, orange zest and lemon zest), malt, candied citrus and raisins. Once the final dough is ready, it needs to rest for one hour. After that time, we portion the dough in single doses for each Panettone, roll them (“pirlare” in Italian), place them in the traditional paper mould and let them rise for extra 20-24 hours at controlled temperature, until the dough reaches the top of the mould. After this long wait, they are now ready to bake in the oven. But this is not the end. After it comes out of the oven, Panettone needs to cool down for 7 hours upside down to maintain its typical dome shape and guarantee the perfect fluffiness. Only at this point it is ready to be packed in a festive elegant packaging before delivering to our customers!

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    Where to buy Panettone in Sri Lanka?


    The classic artisanal Panettone will be available for purchase at AQUA Forte and at authorized vendors for LKR 5,700.

    We deliver to the Western & Southern provinces, at an additional delivery charge of LKR 300 for order of up to 10 Panettones.

    If you order 10 or more Panettones, we can arrange free delivery + a special 10% discount.


    The Panettone & Prosecco package includes a bottle of Bottega Gold Prosecco DOC Spumante Brut*, imported from the region of Veneto in Italy to truly enhance the festivities.

    The delectable Panettone and Prosecco is available for purchase at AQUA Forte for LKR 15,000 or simply, get this delivered to your doorstep. We offer free delivery to Western & Southern provinces.

    *Should you prefer an alternative wine, instead of the sparkling wine, please browse through our wine menu. This is subject to availability and the prices will differ according to the selected wine bottle.

    Authentic artisanal Italian Panettone is hard to come by in Sri Lanka. If you’re looking to buy traditional Milanese Panettone in Sri Lanka to celebrate the festive season, contact our team at AQUA Forte for pre orders. We do have a limited supply of Panettone, so hurry – place your orders now!

    Do you want to know more about authentic Italian cuisine, best wine pairings and secret offers at AQUA Forte? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay up to-date!

      This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

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