The tradition of bestowing Panettone is very much like the The Great Christmas Pudding Swap of my childhood. Everywhere you go, you take one. Everyone who visits you, brings one.
Natale without panettone would be a sorry state of affairs.
It’s meant to be served after the festive meals but if no guest can cram any more in, serve a slice in the morning with a milky coffee. Or as a quick snack with afternoon espresso.
It’s very nice toasted on its own or topped with fruit, and it’s an excellent base for lush desserts with ricotta or cream.
I teamed it up with crema di mascarpone for a sweet, creamy, fruity bread and butter pudding for gourmands.
In Melbourne I get my panettone from Monticello Pasticceria in High Street, Thornbury. Johnny and Tina Laiosa (Sicilian migrants) make their own fresh panettone, with no preservatives whatsoever.