Panettone is a cake of yeast dough, especially famous in Christmas parties. It is also the most popular of all the yeast products in Italian-speaking part of Switzerland.
Up to fifty years ago, not many people in Ticino could buy a panettone for Christmas. So depending on the region they cooked “il pan di fest”, “il pan di üghett” or “ul pan of nus”. All these products had a common ingredient – dried or candied fruits.
The manuscript materials of “The Vocabulary of dialects of italian-speaking part of Switzerland” confirm that panettone was known around 1920 throughout Ticino. For example, a correspondent from Intragna (Onsernone) described it as a “bread cooked of flour, sugar, eggs, cedar and grapes and which is mostly eaten at Christmas.” Another correspondent has reported that people eat panettone also in Easter. It is important to note that the basic ingredients of panettone of those times are the same ones that we find in today’s panettone.
But if to speak about a shape of panettone, there was a change around 1930, when the pastry shop Motta invented the baking forms for panettone: paper baskets in which panettone can get higher.
Once cooked, the panettone were cooled down to prevent the yeast dough from sinking: they hang upside down in special wicker baskets.
Panettone has always been a product that is made almost exclusively by professional bakers because it requires a great deal of skills. Besides it is also more convenient to bake it in large quantities because it is easier to maintain the desired yeast temperature by having a large amount of dough. However it was also made in some Ticino and Mesolcina houses which baked it in the wood ovens.
Since the 1950’s, panettone is a product which everybody can buy. Even if it was originally consumed mostly at Christmas, already several years some pastry makers produce it throughout the year.
During December, panettone is a key product for Ticinese pastries. For Christmas a medium sized bakery produces 2-3 tons of panettone, instead of only 100 kg per month during the rest time of the year. Panettone of Ticino is also very popular and sold in all the rest of Switzerland.
Translation in English: Ticino Siti Web