Italian immigrants arrived to Peru several decades ago, bringing with them their wonderful food, which we adopted at once with utmost pleasure. Among their most popular confections was panettone, a festive yeasted sweet bread famous in Italy during the Christmas celebrations. Surprisingly to many, Peru is now the third largest consumer of panettone in the world, only behind Italy –the champion,- and Argentina, wich has the second place.
We call it panetón, and every Christmas you can see tens of brands, both industrial and artisanal, in every store and market in the country. Having a mug of hot chocolate or a café con leche, along with a big slice of panetón for breakfast, or a mid afternoon snack, is very common among Peruvians at this time of the year (a lot of people love it smothered with butter and strawberry marmalade). Its popularity is so overwhelming that some brands sell the bread also in July, for the Independence celebrations, or even throughout the year.
I found mountains of panetón in some supermarkets here in the US, and I don´t mean the Italian brands but the Peruvian. I bought one and had it for breakfast with my son today, as you can see in the picture. Its popularity abroad is no surprise to me, as I’m sure it brings sweet Christmas memories to homesick Peruvians all over the world.
What to do with leftover panetón:
- sweet croutons
- french toast
- bread pudding
- sweet bread crumbs
To add flavor to the panetón:
- chocolate sauce