I’ve had panettone before, years ago. I’ve had two types. One had too much fruit and was gummy and rather odd. The other was dry and unappetizing. I had heard people talk about how wonderful it was, but I never quite understood.
A couple of weeks ago, I happened to be online when @FreshPanettone asked for food writers/bloggers who might be interested in reviewing his panettone. I am not exactly a food blogger, although I am working on it, so I responded. Nick Ignazzi was kind enough to send me a panettone to review. I opened it with a certain amount of trepidation due to the earlier not-terribly-good experiences. This is what I saw when I opened the box (with Nick Ignazzi’s approval, I used one of his photos because none of mine came out well):
I took a deep breath. An almost floral scent mixed with fruit and a little bit of yeast wafted up. This already was an improvement over the others that I had tried.
I cut a small piece for me and one for Xander. We both enjoyed it. It is definitely bread with fruit in it, and the bread itself is a little sweet. It wasn’t dry at all, despite its travel time, and it was quite good without any additions. We each had another piece.
I took the panettone to work with me the next day. While it was very good, three pounds of panettone was too much for two people. I gave pieces to several people and they all liked it very much. One even asked for a card because she had decided what she was going to get her family for Christmas this year. I was quite amused by that!
The next place I took it, later that night, was to belly dancing practice. They each ate a piece and declared it good, too. Both the dancers and the work people who tried it would have been very happy to tell me whatever they felt about it, since I’ve tested food on them before. The responses to food experiments have mostly been positive, but if they don’t like it, they’ll tell me, and they’ll make suggestions. This, however, was all positive, which was interesting partly because of the wide variety of tastes these people enjoy.
I had about a quarter of the panettone left. I wanted to do something interesting with it rather than just eating it, so I did what I do with many leftover bread products and I made bread pudding. There wasn’t a whole lot left, so I used a small loaf pan. Eggs, milk, vanilla, a little bit of sugar, and chopped up panettone all got mixed, soaked for a while, and then cooked. I like bread pudding in general. It is one of my favorite things. This was even better than usual; the taste of the fruit permeated the bread pudding and enhanced the texture.
I was worried that I would not be able to write a good review of this, since I had not had good experiences in the past. I decided that I would write whatever was true, good or bad, and I wouldn’t worry about it. I got a free panettone and it ended up being good enough that I will probably send a few to people I think will enjoy it, too. It’s a pretty, nicely scented, good tasting food. Presentation and taste combined is always good.