Panettone or pandoro? Every year Italy is divided in the choice of the typical dessert of the Christmas holidays. Whether you prefer one or the other, the important thing is to prefer quality products. But how to recognize them?
This question was answered by the new Altroconsumo ranking that examined a series of Italian panettone and pandoro, in two different rankings, awarding the best of 12 panettone brands and 8 pandoro brands examined in view of Christmas 2020.
“With so many alternatives available on the market, it has become quite difficult to make the right choice. To help you bring the best panettone to the table for Christmas 2020, we tested 12 brands purchased in supermarkets and online. In addition to the laboratory tests, for the tasting we relied in two different tests on the judgment of expert pastry chefs and ordinary consumers, who helped us draw up the complete ranking “explains Altroconsumo.
To decree the best panettone among those of large retailers, Altroconsumo has subjected 12 to laboratory tests and then to the judgment of confectioners and consumers. Finally, the labels were analyzed, evaluating both the information required by law (name, list of ingredients, manufacturer’s address, net weight, presence of the nutritional table …) and the optional information (number of portions, date of production, quantity of some ingredients , methods of conservation and consumption, telephone number for the consumer).
Furthermore, the presence of molds and yeasts was examined, that is the microorganisms that can find easier development ground in products such as panettone. For this reason, our attention in the laboratory has focused on these microorganisms. The same procedure was repeated with the pandoros.
At the top of the panettone ranking we find: Le Grazie di Esselunga, Fior Fiore Coop and Le Tre Marie, for Altroconsumo of “Excellent quality”. Following, classified as “good quality” we find Vergani panettone Milano, Maina the great nocciolato, G. Cova & C classic Panettone, Bauli the classic panettone, Balocco the almond, Carrefour extra panettone and Motta the original panettone. Finally, in the last position (medium quality) Altroconsumo placed: Paluani soft panettone classic recipe and Duca Moscati Eurospin panettone.
Unlike the test on panettone conducted by Altroconsumo, in the case of the pandoro there were no products classified as “of excellent quality”. At the top of the pandoro ranking we find: Maina the pandoro classic recipe, Bauli the pandoro of Verona and Scarpato Pandoro, for Altroconsumo of “Good quality”. Following, always classified as “good quality” we find: Melegatti the original pandoro, Balocco the pandoro, Perbellini pandoro, Conad pandoro of Verona. Finally, in the last positions (average quality) Altroconsumo placed: Paluani pandoro di Verona classic recipe.
How to recognize a quality panettone
According to Altroconsumo, you don’t necessarily have to be an expert pastry chef to understand if a panettone is really good. Some features may already suggest this. For example, it must have a mushroom shape, with the dome protruding from the paper wrapper. In addition, the rind must be compact and uniform in color and not singed. It must also be contained in a good hard cup. When cut, it must be soft and free from obvious defects such as holes in the dough and charred bottom. Finally, it must have the alveoli, that is the large and above all non-homogeneous holes.
The ingredients also reveal a lot about the quality of the panettone which, according to Altroconsumo, must be made with butter and not with other fats, containing a certain amount of egg yolk, candied fruit and raisins. The yeast must be natural, obtained from the previous processing, to give the typical slightly acidic flavor to the dough.
How to recognize a quality pandoro
According to Altroconsumo, beyond the analysis it is possible to recognize whether a pandoro is of quality even without being an expert. In particular, this dessert must have the typical octagonal star shape; the “ribs”, which serve to increase the surface of the cake, reducing cooking times, must be well shaped. The external surface must be free of crust, must not show traces of grease and must appear dry.
Even the color can reveal a lot, it must be uniform, neither excessively light nor dark, but golden. The base must also be uniform, not burnt. Inside, it must be soft and dry and of a uniform yellow color. The alveolation must also be regular.
The ingredients also reveal a lot about the quality of the pandoro which, according to Altroconsumo, must be specific. The use of fats other than butter (and cocoa butter) is not allowed in the production of Pandoro. In addition, the dough must contain a certain amount of egg yolk and the yeast must be natural, obtained from the previous processing, to give the typical slightly acid flavor.