When Italian market-cafe Eataly Dallas opened on December 9 at NorthPark Center, it was with a massive list of pastas, pizzas, meats, breads, oils, cheeses sauces, wines, olives, and more. They do everything in multiples, with a selection exceeding what you'd find at your typical store.
That includes the category of panettone, which they offer in 30-plus varieties.
Panettone is the Italian sweet bread, originally from Milan, a staple for the holidays, usually packaged in distinctive cardboad boxes, often sold at supermarkets and also at places like Marshall's and Ross.
Panettone has been trending up in recent years, for example, capturing the imagination of famed baker Roy Shvartzapel (founder of Houston bakery Common Bond), who makes a $68 version that he sells online.
Eataly's online selection, where they usually carry more than 40 varieties, sold out early this year.
The traditional recipe, dating back to the 15th century, features candied fruit and raisins. But Italian bakers have developed numerous spinoffs featuring everything from chocolate chips to pistachio to one with limoncello cream.
Eataly has always made a huge deal about panettone, with in-store tastings; alas, that is not allowed in 2020.
Here's a panettone Q&A with Eataly's marketing team:
How are the panettone options at Eataly selected?
There are thousands of panettone producers in Italy, but just hundreds of artisanal panettone producers. Our selection comes from this select group of high-quality bakeries. For us, high-quality ingredients, artisanal recipes, and traditions are the most important factors to keep in consideration.
Are there ways to gauge the quality?
Fresh, high-quality ingredients are key to creating a high-quality product that maintains its soft, moist texture throughout the season (because the panettoni need to be made seasonally).
One example is Vergani, an Italian family-owned producer from 1944, which uses stone-ground flour, Calabrian candied oranges, vanilla from Madagascar, and acacia honey from Tuscany.
Is there a best seller?
There are two:
- Panettone Classico Muzzi: This classic version of the dome-shaped loaf is made with mother yeast and takes at least 30 hours to rise, then is filled with a generous helping of candied fruit and raisins. This cake pairs perfectly with whipped cream and a glass of Prosecco.
- Bonifanti (carried under the Eataly brand and exclusive to Eataly): Wrapped simply, each Bonifanti panettone is made with mother yeast, then filled with classic flavors like candied fruit and raisins or rich chocolate chips. Their panettone basso, or short panettone, is a classic style from Milano – it is smaller than a regular panettone, without giving up its traditional fluffy texture.
Are there new varieties this year?
Yes, this year we've included Borsari, a brand new producer to Eataly. Borsari is from Verona, the homeland of Pandoro. Some of their varieties we carry are Panettone Gran Cioccolato, Pandoro Crema di Limoncello, Panettone Crema di Pistacchio, Pandoro Crema di Tiramisu.
How does a shopper determine which one to buy?
Each of our stores has plenty of educational signage about this Italian holiday cake, with information from where the panettone has been made, the producer, and the ingredients.
Plus, Eataly experts are always on the floor helping and supporting our customers, answering any questions they might have.
Last but not least our website, is full of articles about panettone, like this Panettone Guide.