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San Valentine, also known as Valentine of Terni, was a Roman bishop and martyr. Revered as a Saint by the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and later by the Anglican Church, he is considered the patron saint of lovers and protector of epileptics.

Born into a patrician family, was converted to Christian religion and consecrated bishop of Terni in 197, at the  age of 21. In 270 BC, Valentine was in Rome, by invitation of the Greek philosopher and orator Craton, to preach the Gospel and convert the pagans.

Invited by the emperor Claudius II to suspend the religious celebration and to renounce his faith, Valentine refused to do so and he indeed tried to convert the emperor to the Christian religion. Claudius II pardoned him and entrusted him to a noble family.

Valentine was arrested a second time under the emperor Aurelian, who succeeded Claudius II. The Roman Empire continued its persecution of Christians and, as the popularity of Valentine was growing, the Roman soldiers captured him, fearing that the people would rise up in his defense. He was beheaded on 14 February 273, at age 97, by the hand of the Roman soldier Furius Placidus, under the orders of Emperor Aurelian.

His remains were buried on the hill of Terni. In the fourth century, on the hill of Terni, was built a church where currently are stored the Saint’s relics, enclosed in a shrine. It seems that they have been brought into the city by Craton’s three disciples, Apollonius, Efebo and Procuro, converted to Christianity by the future Saint and for this reason they have been martyred.

 © Italian Tutorial, 2013. All rights reserved.


The legends of Panettone

On Christmas Eve in the court of the Duke Ludovico Sforza, Lord of Milan,  a grand dinner ball was held.
For this occasion, the head of the kitchen had prepared a special cake; unfortunately, the cake was burnt during cooking and a scullion in the kitchen, called Tony, proposed to serve the cake he had prepared for himself, using the leftovers of the previous preparation.
The chef, having nothing else to choose from, decided to serve Tony’s cake. That “sweet bread”, with fragrant candied fruits, sultans, butter and a dome well burnished, was welcomed by loud applauses and the guests wanted to know the creator’s name of this extraordinary sweet bread. Tony came forward, saying that he had not yet given any names.
The Duke, then, baptized the bread with the name of its creator “Pane di Tony“. So, it was created the “Panettone”, now famous all over the world.

   Another legend says of a young huntsman, Ughetto Atellani, madly in love with a baker named Algisa. The business was not so good for Algisa, due to the opening of another bakery nearby. Christmas was approaching, but customers preferred to buy bread and sweets from the new store. So, Ughetto, at his own expense, bought butter, sugar, eggs and raisins; then, kneaded all the ingredients with flour and the success was huge! Maybe it was the power of love! Who knows! Long queues of customers were formed in front of Agisa’s shop, to buy the new sweet. Thus, the two lovers, now wealthy got married and lived happily ever after!

There is another legend (we are in the year 1200) that tells of a group of nuns who lived on charity in the damp and misty countryside on the outskirts of Milan. That year the citizen of Milan had not given a lot and on Christmas Eve in the pantry of the sisters there was left only some flour with which the nuns prepared bread. When the Mother Superior approached to bless the bread, miraculously the bread was transformed into a wonderful big cake, the “Panettone”.

Panettone has always been for the Italians, the symbol of Christmas and represents symbolically the union of all members of a family, sitting around a table to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus!

History of “Pandoro”

   “Pandoro” (= Golden Bread) is a typical, delicate and soft delicacy of Verona, which is present in all Italian Christmas tables. Its history is full of anecdotes and legends. The current version of “Pandoro” dates back to the nineteenth century, as an evolution of the “Nadalin” (from the word “Natale”= Christmas), typical sweet of the city of Verona. The name and some of its peculiarities date back to the times of the Venetian Republic, when it was offer food covered with thin leaves of fine gold and there was also a conical sweet called “Pan di oro” (Bread of gold).
In any case, Pandoro’s birthday is, 14 October 1884, the day that Domenico Melegatti deposited at the patent office an application for a license for a cake, made with a soft dough and having the characteristic shape of a conical eight-pointed star (artistic work of the impressionist painter Dall’Oca Bianca).

Nutritional Values

The nutritional values ​​of 100 grams of Panettone, are substantially equal to those of Pandoro, (although with a slight presence of fat less than the Pandoro, in which you use more eggs and butter).
Both Panettone and Pandoro  are two very energetic cakes (100 grams have the same calories than a plate of pasta) rich in starch, with a moderate protein and high fat content. This means that must pay particular attention to these foods people with diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia, hyperlipidemia and obesity.

Analytically, 100 grams of Pandoro contains: 334 calories, 2 g animal proteins, 4 g vegetal proteins; 56.5 g carbohydrates, 10.70 g fats, 2.8 g fibers, 3 mg iron, 149 mg calcium;
100 grams of Pandoro contain: 390 calories, 6.40 g proteins, 56.20 g carbohydrates, 10.70 g fats, 2.8 g fibers, 3 mg iron, 149 mg calcium, 130 mg phosphorus.

How you can recognize a good one?

In the case of Panettone, check that onto the dome is engraved a cross, without other reliefs and splits. The crust must be attached to the pasta, which must be golden, but not burnt. The dough should be soft inside and yellow and have the “holes”, sign that the dough is naturally leavened. The candied fruit and raisins must be present in significant quantities.
In the case of Pandoro, the dough must be yellow, soft and with large bubbles (holes) but less noticeable than in Panettone. The flavor should not be acidic or highly flavored. The bottom should be brown, but not burnt.

   How to serve:

Serve Panettone or Pandoro for breakfast with milk, coffee, tea, etc or as dessert after lunch or dinner with a sweet wine. Delicious also as a mid day snack.

All the above is for information only.

   © Italian Tutorial, 2012. All rights reserved.