Expert taste test: Gennaro Contaldo on the best panettone for Christmas

Date:19-11-2013 08:58:51 read:2

Expert taste test: Gennaro Contaldo on the best panettone for Christmas

Gennaro Contaldo judges the best panettone for the Christmas table.

(L-R): Tesco Finest, Marks & Spencer Sugar Crusted, Machiavelli Classico Photo: ANDREW TWORT

“At Christmas, panettone must be celebratory,” says Contaldo, who is thrilled this Milanese sweet loaf is now so popular in Britain. “I love the fantastic smell, the 'wow’ when you open the bag, and the delicious fruit that turns it from a sweet bread to an elegant dessert. It has to be moist and well risen, and the outer edge should be baked evenly. I turn the leftovers into bread-and-butter pudding, but love it most just dipped in coffee.”

We asked Gennaro Contaldo to try, in a blind taste test, 11 panettones available from supermarkets and online, and to choose his favourite three. Here are the results...

Tesco Finest £8 for 750g

This feels very moist and has lots of lovely fruit and candied peel all the way through. The paper tears off neatly: the sign of a good bake. The bread is well cooked and not too sweet.

Marks & Spencer Sugar Crusted £15 for 1kg

A good rise, wonderfully buttery, and dotted with big bits of peel. It isn’t a traditional look but I like it. It’s been baked with heart, and the taste reminds me of home.

Machiavelli Classico £13.50 for 1kg (

This smells of Christmas. The fruit is nice and the whole thing has been baked to a perfect colour. Again, this one is not too sweet, which I like.

“Let’s Cook Italian”, by Gennaro Contaldo, is published by Pavilion at £20

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