How to eat a panettone like an Italian?

Recognizable by its tall, rounded shape, panettone – meaning “big loaf” – has become synonymous with Christmas in Italy. But this iconic holiday treat isn’t just popular among Italians; it has become one of the most popular Christmas treats in the world. Although fantastic on its own, you can make it even more festive for the holiday table. Learn more about panettone and explore all the different ways to serve this Italian delight.

What is panettone

Panettone is an Italian sourdough sweet bread made with candied orange peel, citrons and raisins. It was created in Milan in the 15th century. Traditionally it was known as ‘pane di tono’, which means ‘luxury cake’. Back then, yeast was only used to make bread on religious holidays like Christmas. By the mid-1800s, panettone had evolved to include butter, eggs, sugar, and raisins. It was not until panettone began to be mass-produced, in the first half of the 20th century, that it acquired its domed shape. Large-scale production brought the panettone to the masses, and it quickly became a party staple.

How to slice panettone


The traditional way to serve panettone is to remove the paper liner, take a bread knife, and cut it from top to bottom. Continuing from the same center point, cut again, going off the center a bit to make your first thin slice. Continue cutting the panettone this way to make as many narrow slices as needed for you and your guests.

How to serve panettone

serve panettone

There are tons of options to enjoy panettone. Some serve it with mascarpone – an Italian cream cheese. Others enjoy it with melted dark chocolate. Some people like it with a cup of coffee in the morning; others prefer their slice with a glass of Marsala wine or a sparkling Moscato after dinner.


Take a jar of your favorite chocolate spread, warm it up slightly and drizzle it over the panettone.

mascarpone cream

Mix fresh mascarpone with eggs and sugar and serve with a few slices of panettone. You can make it prettier by adding fresh berries, chocolate shavings or a dusting of cocoa powder.


Italians usually eat panettone with a cappuccino to start the day or an afternoon espresso for dessert. This iconic cake is cut into thin slices and served with cups of coffee, on its own or with other breakfast foods.


Panettone is a dessert, so select a dessert or meditation wine to complement it. Sparkling wines are an ideal pairing with panettone. We suggest you serve it with a glass of Moscato d’Asti, as an after-dinner dessert. Sweet and bubbly, this sparkling wine is perfect for holiday toast and pairs beautifully with the zesty, yeasty notes of panettone. Other excellent combinations include Passito di Pantelleria DOCG, Primitivo, Recioto di Soave Classico DOCG and Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC.

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