|Napacakes.com; also available at Sickles Market|
|Stollen at Sickles Market|
For many families, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without the classic Italian sweetened yeast cake filled with candied citrus peels and raisins, known as panettone. Originally created in 15th century Milan, this cupola-shaped cake has always been a favorite at the holiday season, often served with sweet moscato wine or hot chocolate. The origins of the cake are a mystery, although many legends abound. Some say that a Duke’s falconer loved a poor baker’s daughter and wanted to marry her. The two lovers worked secretly at night, creating a rich bread with butter and eggs purchased with money gained by selling off the Duke’s falcons one by one. At Christmas, they added citrus peels and dried fruits and the bread was such a success that the baker became very wealthy, allowing the couple to marry.
|Pasticceri Filippi Panettone at Sickles Market|
There is, finally, the classic fruitcake: The traditional dark, candied fruit-studded, rum or brandy-soaked variety. Queen Victoria herself received such a fruitcake as a gift and legend has it that she put it aside and did not touch it for a year. She intended to set an example to all of moderation and restraint. My guess is that she would have consumed it immediately with a glass of sweet moscato if it were a Pasticceri Filippi panettone, a Balthazar stollen or a Napa Cakes panforte. She most probably got stuck with Johnny Carson’s infamous traveling fruitcake. Hopefully you will be more fortunate and have a sweet, fruitcake-filled holiday!