Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

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.


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Sardinia offers the opportunity for great holidays. Surfing, Kite Surfing, Windsurfing, Scuba diving,  Surfing pulled along by a motor boat,  Mountain climbing, Mountain biking and, of course, to enjoy its transparent and deep blue waters and beaches with a turquoise sea.

  Sardinia is an ideal destination all year round. The bathing season is long, from May to October. The best time is early summer, when beaches, including the most famous of the Costa Smeralda, are not yet crowded.


The best places to visit in Sardinia: Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, is a vibrant city of great cultural appeal. You can visit the Citadel of Museums, at the gates of the Castello district, which contains the Archaeological Museum and the National Art Gallery, with works by Sardinian and Catalan authors of the fifteenth century and the old cathedral, which houses the Cathedral Museum. It’s nice to walk on the fortifications (walls), which offer one of the most beautiful landscapes. The nearest beach is Poetto, seven kilometers of bars, restaurants and beaches.

   Alghero is the city that rivals Cagliari for lifestyle and new trends, such as the fish markets where you buy the fish at zero distance, bike paths, and bio-fattorie hotels with low environmental impact. From Alghero you can reach Capo Caccia, a destination famous for its beaches, but also for the possibility of doing long walks in the countryside and bird watching, flying over the imposing limestone promontory. This is also the Head Hunting Resort, one of the most spectacular hotels of the island, overlooking the sea.

Sea and culture are the prerogatives of Sant’Antioco, the Civic Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Archaeology, which houses the remains of all the sailors who landed on this island. Sant’Antioco is also the destination for wine lovers; here you also will find gourmet restaurants, where the cuisine combines Sardinians and Genoese flavours. The more mundane is the Costa Smeralda, created by Prince Aga Khan, in the early sixties, where are the island’s finest hotels.

   Sardinia contains also many archaeological sites and mines under the sun. The Great Serbariu mine, inserted in the Historical and Environmental Park of Sardinia, is open to the public. From the Gulf of Orosei Arbatax runs a stretch of coast between the wildest and best preserved of the island.

The highlight is the Sardinian summer jazz festival that takes place in Time Berchidda. In the cosmopolitan Costa Smeralda, summer is marked by international regattas and golf tournaments.

   Typical Sardinean dishes include: the malloreddus with meat sauce, the maccarones with red sauce and meatballs or ravioli with wild boar sauce, lamb stew with fennel, roast suckling pig with vegetables, pig with myrtle and, in season, “cacciagione” (hunting) dishes. There is plenty of choice even for those who love fish soups and seafood. Then mountain charcuterie, sheep of different ages who are accompanied to carasau, a crunchy pastry flour and semolina, excellent even with only oil and salt. You can also get carasau frattau, baked dough in layers topped with tomato, beef, cheese and eggs. The dishes are accompanied by local wines, especially whites, such as Vermentino, or red, like the Carignano Sulcis. It is well worth it to try the local beer, the “blonde” Ichnusa. The meal always ends with a drink made of licorice, strawberry trees, laurel, prickly india or fennel.

Things to buy: The Sardinian folk art focuses on the production of textiles, ceramics, works on carving, basket weaving and weaving of rugs, tapestries and carpets with traditional motifs.

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Italy is famous worldwide for its cuisine, especially for “pizza”. There are many types of pizza, but the “mother of all pizzas” is the famous “pizza margherita”.
The basic ingredients of pizza are tomato and mozzarella, since 1500. The typical “pizzeria” has a wood stove, a marble countertop where the pizza is packed, a shelf where you see the ingredients and tables where customers can consume.
The most famous Neapolitan pizza maker was Pietro Colicchio, whose tradition is continued today by ‘”Antica Pizzeria Brandi”. In 1889, the best pizza maker at the time, Raffaele Esposito created for the King of Italy Umberto I and his wife Margaret three pizzas: pizza at “mastunicola” (lard, cheese, basil), pizza marinara (tomato, garlic, oil, oregano) and the tomato and mozzarella pizza (tomato, mozzarella, olive oil, basil). The last was built in honor of the queen. In fact, the colors green (basil), white (mozzarella) and red (tomatoes) are the colours of the Italian flag. The sovereign liked it, so that he wanted to commend the author of this goodness, in writing. Even today the letter of thanks of the Queen is visible in ‘”Ancient Pizzeria Brandi” in Naples.
For this reason, the pizza maker decided to give the name of the queen to his new pizza. Since then, the pizza with tomato, mozzarella and basil, is called “margherita”.

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© Italian Tutorial, 2012. All rights reserved.