Panettone and Milan

The Duomo, the Sforzesco Castle, the Gallery and… Panettone. If Milan comes with some internationally recognised icons, Panettone is undoubtedly one of them. There is a long, centuries-old link between the city of Milan and Panettone, dating back to the Middle Ages, and many are the stories told about the creation of Milan’s most popular loaf. They include romantic and poetic stories of noble knights, charitable nuns or kitchen boys at the court of the City Lords. Between myth and reality, one thing is for sure: a 1395 decree allowed all Milan bakeries to bake the so-called Pan del Ton (meaning a valuable bread) for Christmas: a white loaf made from wheat flour, that even the poor could have on that special holiday. This “luxury” bread was at the heart of a Christmas tradition in Milan, the ceremony of the “tree stump”: on Christmas Eve, the head of house divided a Pan del Ton, handing out a piece to each family member as they gathered around the fireplace. In time, Panettone has become Italy’s most popular Christmas cake from North to South, with many producers scattered across the country. But the best way to rediscover its uniqueness and history is to do it in Milan: from here, we will start to tell you the history of Panettone Vergani – as well as of our family.