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5 Beloved Italian Desserts for the Holidays

Every culture has its traditions for the holidays, especially when it comes to food. There is nothing more joyous than sitting down with friends and family to indulge in a delicious meal on a special day. In Italy, many look forward to the last course of dinner, dessert, all year round. Whether you’re 100 percent Italian or just wish you were, Italian dessert fanatics far and wide can rejoice in the wide variety of traditional cakes, biscuits and sweets typically enjoyed around December 25th.  

Here is our list of beloved, traditional Italian desserts to enjoy this holiday season: 

1. Panettone

Panettone at Sansone Market

While the tradition originated in Italy, Panettone is now enjoyed all over the world on Christmas and New Year. The dome-shaped sweet-bread loaf typically contains a mix of raisins, candied orange, citron, and lemon zest. However, in recent years some producers have offered a modern twist on the dessert. Dolce&Gabanna’s Panettone , pictured above, features one variety covered in white chocolate with Pistachio cream on the side, for instance. 

The origins of this dessert go back to the 15th century. Noblemen Ughetto Atellani was said have prepared a sweet-bread similar to Panettone in order to impress a baker’s daughter. Although it boasts a lengthy preparation time, the bread is available from many different brands in most Italian markets – including Sansone Market!

2. Pandoro

Pandoro Italian Desserts at Sansone Market

Design is especially important when it comes to this Italian dessert bread. Pandoro is traditionally baked into the shape of an eight-pointed star. The healthy golden color inspired its name, which translates into “golden bread.” Like Panettone, Pandoro is available in many stores due to its popularity. However, those looking to prepare it at home will need fresh eggs, lots of sugar, and a star shaped mould. Many choose to serve the bread with Mascarpone or whipped cream for an even sweeter experience. It dates back to the 18th century Verona when it was enjoyed by aristocrats. Although a slight rivalry exists between Pandoro and Panettone, both desserts are equally historic and beloved. 

3. Panforte

Panforte at Sansone MArket

Fruit cake tends to be the butt of many holiday jokes, but fans of Panforte stand behind this fruit cake. This traditional dessert contains fruit, nuts, honey, spices, and almonds. Going all the way back to 13th century Sienna, Panforte was said to be used as payment for the monks and nuns of the local monastery. Both lighter and darker versions exist as well (Panforte nero and Panforte Margherita, respectively.) No matter what recipe you use or purchase, just make sure you have some icing sugar on hand to top the dessert off in a wintery fashion. 

4. Struffoli

Stuffoli at Sansone Market

Greek poet Archestratus may have been a fan of Struffoli or a similar dish, as evidenced by the description of “dough ball fried in olive oil” in his Gastronomy. The dessert, a Neapolitan treat, resembles Christmas baubles with their round shape and a touch of glitter. Preparing this dish is half the fun. Just drop your dough in frying oil until the pieces turn golden brown. Then drizzle honey and sprinkles on top for a scrumptious finish. 

5. Caggionetti

Caggionetti at Sansone Market

If you love ravioli, Caggionetti may be up your alley. The fried dessert certainly resembles pasta. However, instead of meat and cheese, it is traditionally filled with honey, chocolate, rum, lemon, and/or chestnuts. Originating from Abruzzo, it was known to be handed out after Mass on Christmas Eve. Now they are served beginning as early as November. You know what that means? Time to indulge! 

Stop by Sansone Market for Your Favorite Authentic Italian Desserts This Holiday Season!

All your favorite authentic Italian desserts can be found at Sansone Market! Come down and get everything you need this holiday season. Whether you prefer your Panettone store bought or homemade, we have what you need to make this year the best holiday yet! Be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date on everything going on at Sansone Market.