Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guest Post: An Expat in Switzerland Demystifies Those Christmas Cakes

Each December, the Swiss grocery stores overflow with different Italian cakes and it didn’t seem like a good idea to keep myself wondering just what the heck they all were. So I tried them, and here’s my take:

The first cake I tried was Pandoro. I admit that my husband and I bought the cake more out of our excitement at opening a “Pandoro’s Box” than anything else (terrible pun, I know, but I’ll use anything as an excuse to eat new desserts). Anyhow, the Pandoro was a tall yellow cake, which came with a packet of powdered sugar. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. To my over-sugared American taste buds, the cake wasn’t sweet enough—even with the packet of sugar—but it was still a fun thing to eat, made more fun when I found out the cake originated from the Verona area in Italy, where some of my ancestors were from. To be fair, the Italians call this stuff bread, not cake, so maybe I had the wrong mindset when I ate it. Darn, I just might have to try another for the sake of justice. Poor me.

Panettone, sometimes known as Italian Christmas bread, originated in Milan. My ancestors would be disappointed, but I preferred this bread to the Pandoro, mainly because the Panettone was filled with raisins, candied oranges, and almonds. If I only could have added the powdered sugar of the Pandoro to the Panettone it would have been perfect.

Anyhow, before you invest in a big Italian bread/cake thing, I recommend buying a mini one of each kind to see which you prefer. Mini Panettones and Pandoros can be found at Migros, perfect if you just want to sample each (or bring some home to the family). Some people even pack these for their lunch. Sounds like a good idea to me. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Do you have a favorite Christmas treat that you enjoy in Switzerland? Please share.
Chantal Panozzo is a writer and blogger. She’s the author of One Big Yodel and Writer Abroad . She also blogs for a new expat community blog. This blog offers affordable calling cards in Switzerland as well as information about living abroad in Switzerland and in many other countries.


Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

As a born-and-bred Italian, who also lived in the States, I had to laugh at this. Desserts always tasted too sweet to me in the States - not that it stopped me from getting those kid-s chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting every time I went to Whole Foods ;-)

The beauty of Pandoro and Panettone to me is that they have just a hint of sweet, so they are not relegated to the role of dessert. During the holidays a slice of either can be a snack, a dessert, something you offer guests, or even something to accompany your caffelatte in the morning.

The less traditional versions, with chocolate and cream and such (also available at Migros, Coop, etc) are sweeter and more dessert-like. Maybe try those next year ;-)

Coffee Makers said...

Maybe a little bit sweet, but what the heck - when in Paris do as Parisians!


keurig b60 coffee maker


Contact me. | Advertise on Swisstory