italian culture: pandoro vs. panettone

In the great pandoro vs. panettone debate, both desserts that complete the Italian holiday experience, I find myself completely split. Because, you must know that such a debate actually exists, since Italians love to discuss and dispute, especially at the table. Christmas Tree vs. Nativity Scene, Meat at Christmas vs. Fish at Christmas, and the beloved Pandoro vs. Panettone.
Pandoro: On one hand you have spongey, buttery pandoro, a perfectly light treat for those long nights playing cards during the holidays. Plus, it’s a fun dessert. You open a bag of vanilla confectioner’s sugar and pour it into the bigger bag with the pandoro in it. Family members take turns shaking it up, and then you slice it horizontally into stars. You can even take those slices and alternate them into a deconstructed pandoro cake with cream in between the slices!
Panettone: Then, on the other hand, we have the classic Italian holiday dessert for excellence: panettone. Similar to the sponginess of the pandoro, it’s round and puffed up on top. Inside, raisins and candied fruit float within the cake. Variations include chocolate chips and dried pear, dried cherries, or an entirely chocolate panettone with a chocolate sauce drizzled on top. Bakeries make their panettone and then hang them upside down in special racks so they dry out nicely and retain their round shape, perfuming the whole street of sweet, vanilla cake that could only mean one thing: it’s Christmas in Italy.
Here’s the catch, though. Most people either love pandoro and despise panettone, or vice versa. I’ve asked everyone I know and the answers are hard to decipher. At first it seemed like pandoro was a kids-only treat. Then it was as if only men liked pandoro, and women were largely in favor of panettone. Now, I’m not so sure. All I know is, they’re both good. And both will be on my holiday table in Barletta for Christmases to come. I don't discriminate when it comes to desserts.

Which would you prefer?
P.S. Here's a chocolate covered panettone you can buy at Trader Joe's!


14 comments:

  1. gabyburger12/20/2012

    Pandoro for me! ;)

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  2. Although we tend to have both, except in the US where Pandoro is more difficult to find, in my household Pandoro is favored.

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  3. Natalie12/20/2012

    For some reason we only ever have Panettone at Easter!

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  4. Brigette12/20/2012

    Yummy! I love hearing about the Italian traditions, my friend lived there for a year and it was so cool to see how they celebrate.

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  5. Stephanie12/20/2012

    I've only had the panettone with dried fruit and since I don't like dried fruit in my baked goods, I'd have to go with pandoro. No surprise I'd prefer a dessert meant for kids.

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  6. Dancing Branflake12/20/2012

    I have never heard of Pandoro before! I think I'd like it. But the chocolate covered Pannettone sounds too good to be true!

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  7. i think you'd like it too! omg that chocolate one...i want it! :)

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  8. haha! yeah, it's not the best part of panettone, i'd prefer it if there were only raisins!

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  9. it really is so different brigette! i'm glad you like the little bits of culture i throw at you, makes me happy! :) hope you're well!

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  10. cute! do you have colomba as well? (the bread-like cake with icing on top)?

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  11. you're right, it is harder to find pandoro. i couldn't even find a link online to give you guys! where do you live now?

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  12. yum! gaby, it's so good the next day at breakfast!

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  13. I've never tried pandoro but it sounds like so much fun! I have a panettone right now waiting to be cut into :).

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  14. I've never had Pandoro but it sounds like something I would prefer, especially since I have had Panettone but because I don't like raisins, I end up picking them out making myself look like a child, so Pandoro it is.

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thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, i love reading them so much!

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