A Sweet Treat to Eat, Bauducco's Panettone Available in U.S. Grocery Stores

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Panettone – a sweet, specialty cake typically incorporating raisins, dried fruit and candied citrus peel – has been enjoyed for centuries during the holiday season in Italy. Now, Bauducco Foods, Sao Paulo, Brazil, the largest maker of panettone in the world and exporter to 80 countries, introduces Bauducco Panettone into grocery stores across the U.S. Made in the authentic Italian fashion, it incorporates Sun-Maid raisins and, in a new take on tradition, Hershey's chocolate chips.

"In Italy, panettone is a staple from late November through New Year's, served as a dessert, at breakfast with coffee, and even in recipes like French toast," says Lucinda Scala Quinn, author of "MAD Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys" and "Lucinda's Rustic Italian Kitchen" and an expert in Italian culinary traditions. "With its subtle sweetness and light texture, panettone is more versatile than traditional cakes. I like it on its own or topped with ice cream or powdered sugar. It pairs well with dessert wines or Champagne for an after-dinner treat, or with coffee or hot chocolate in the morning."

While there are different versions of the history of panettone, all of them begin in northern Italy, near Milan. One story centers on a baker's helper named Toni, who accidentally knocked raisins into a bowl of bread dough, and then tried to remedy the situation by adding more dried fruit, sugar, butter and eggs. He baked it and gave it to his employer, who hailed the new creation and named it pane di Toni (Toni's bread, in Italian). In another legend, Toni the baker is deeply in love and concocts the recipe to win the respect of his beloved's father. In reality, Romans, who made bread enriched with fruit similar to panettone, invented the recipe.

In addition to being served to friends and family throughout the holiday season, panettone is also typically given as a hostess gift in many countries, in lieu of flowers or wine. "It's such a lovely and, at least in the U.S., unexpected gesture to give a panettone," says Scala Quinn. "I give it decoratively wrapped, and attach a card with a serving idea or two on one side and the story of panettone written on the other."

Suggested retail price for a 17.5-oz package is $4.99.

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