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Each Italian Holiday has its cake.  When and which to eat?

Posted on september 06, 2017 by The Tuscookany Team

Each Italian Holiday has its cake.  When and which to eat?

Each country has its own holiday desserts to enjoy at a particular time of year. At Tuscookany we love traditional Italian cakes and want to introduce them here.

Easter and Christmas are two of the most important holidays around the world. So what desserts  do Italians make to celebrate these?

Colomba for Easter

Easter is Colomba time. Colomba pasquale is a dove shaped cake, the recipe of which is similar to the traditional Italian Christmas desserts. It’s also made with flour, sugar, eggs, butter and yeast, with candied orange peel but no raisins, and topped with crunchy sugar and almond icing.

The dove traditionally represents the Holy Spirit and appears in many scenes associated with Christ’s life. No wonder this shape has been chosen to celebrate the Resurrection.

Colomba Pasquale was first commercialised in Milan by the baker Angelo Motta in the early 20th century.

Panettone and Pandoro for Christmas and New Year

Panettone is a quintessentially Italian Christmas dessert and is now well known almost all over the world.  Panettone literally means “big loaf”.  It is said that the propotype of panettone was created back in the 15th century by Ughetto Atellani who tried to impress the baker’s daughter, Adalgisa. Panettone as we know it today,  however,  originates from the same bakery of Angelo Motta in Milan.

It is shaped as a dome and contains candied peel and raisins. Due to the exceptionally time consuming process of multiple dough risings, which may take several days, Italians prefer to buy panettone from bakeries and supermarkets rather than making it themselves.

Another traditional Christmas cake, which also comes from the North of Italy in Verona, is pandoro (pan d’oro – “bread of gold”). Unlike panettone, pandoro is an eight-pointed star shape and dusted with icing sugar.

Historically, the wealthy were the only ones who could afford white bread so for far less well-off families this cake was almost literally made of gold as they needed to save to enjoy this dessert once a year.  As panettone, pandoro is also very difficult to make and is commercially produced during the Christmas season for everyone to enjoy. 

Do you want to learn more about Italian eating habits? Why not join us for a Tuscookany cooking holiday?

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