Summer Panettone: Manzoni dixit

Summer panettone isn’t just a gimmick, it’s actually been around for a long time! The Milanese have eaten panettone all year round for at least 173 years, but probably well before that. This feathery bread with its buttery taste is a treat at any time, restricting its presence on our tables only to winter sounds unfair, to say the least.

The proof comes from the words of Alessandro Manzoni, one of Italy’s most illustrious authors. During his voluntary exile on the shores of Lago Maggiore, he and his wife Teresa were staying in the small Piedmontese town of Lesa. Now, Teresa was a known panettone fanatic. In fact, she coined the term bene panatonata, or “well panettoned”, meaning one had eaten just the right amount of panettone to feel satisfied.

summer panettone estivo Alessandro and teresa manzoni
Teresa and Alessandro Manzoni

Away from their home in Milan, Teresa was craving panettone in the middle of July. In a now famous letter to his son Pietro, Alessandro asks to him to send them some provisions as well a panettone of three or four pounds since…

“In Arona, to my surprise, they only make it for Christmas.”

– July 18 1850

Arona was the nearest large town, how could they only have panettone for Christmas!? The Manzonis were clearly trendsetters. They understood good panettone transcends seasonality. 

So, if you’re feeling even the slightest bit unsure about eating panettone in the summer, fret not. There’s clear historical evidence of year-long panettone consumption. Be like Teresa Manzoni. Make sure you’re “bene panatonata” in every season.