Panettone + Beerenberg Giveaway #2

Don’t you hate how Christmas gear starts appearing as early as October or even September these days? I get that some people may want to plan ahead and send Christmas related gifts to relatives living abroad but I think it’s just an excuse to get people to open their yuletide purses prematurely and completely unnecessarily. Ultimately, I think some people stock up early with all good intention but find they need to top again close to Christmas given temptation.


I generally give the Pre-Christmas section of stores and supermarkets a wide berth until late November but the one thing that does always tempt me into loosening my purse strings is Panettone. I love the stuff. I am not at all Italian but this festive bread is the one thing that heralds Christmas to me. I think it may have something to do with the local cafe near my last workplace always getting in a supply of wonderfully light, real Italian Panettone around Christmas time. I pretty much bought a slice every day in the lead up to Christmas because I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them again for another year. So for around six years, Panettone was my sign that Christmas was nigh.

If you have noticed those large boxes of Panettone in shops then you may have also noticed how expensive they are. You wouldn’t think so just by looking at its plain, mushroom-like form, but Panettone is quite labour intensive to make and involves a decent amount of butter. Nothing that contains butter is cheap these days sadly. Furthermore, a lot of Panettone sold in gourmet food stores are imported from Italy so there’s that cost factor to consider as well. Does it therefore make sense to make your own?


When I first came across Gourmet Traveller magazine’s recipe for Panettone some years ago, my eyes glazed over after just a few minutes of reading. There seemed to be a lot of waiting around involved too which, while not unusual for bread making, was never really compatible with full time work or busy weekends. I did however find a moment just recently to finally try this recipe and I’m happy to report that it is indeed well worth making your own Panettone.

If you regularly make bread then the extra proofing steps won’t faze you at all. Even beginner bakers will find the recipe fairly straightforward (as long as you concentrate) and certainly easier to make than croissants. If you’re not into dried fruit then you can substitute those ingredients for nuts or chocolate chips. I used some Japanese plum wine soaked raisins only and some mixed spices instead of vanilla. I also halved the ingredients given in the recipe for a smaller Panettone, which I found to be a good size anyway. Just adjust the baking time to about two-thirds of the overall process.


Practice will no doubt make closer to perfect with Panettone but with a few more weeks to go to experiment, I’m hoping Panettone making will become my new Christmas memory.

Beerenberg Giveaway: What food or drink item really shouts ‘It’s Christmas!’ to you?

I have a gorgeous trio of Beerenberg jam to give away for Christmas to anyone who resides in Australia or has an Australian postal address for me to send the gift to. I enjoyed my homemade Panettone with Beerenberg’s luscious strawberry jam but in this giveaway, you can try their apricot and raspberry jams as well. Just let me know via a comment here what food or drink gets you into the Christmas spirit and why? Let me know if it’s something you do or want to make at home. If you are on Facebook, you can post your comment there also and if you happen to also ‘Like’ my page, I will include a bonus gift :)

Beerenberg Giveaway

My Gastromony page can be found here. Competition closes 16th of December so I can post the winner her/his goodies in time for Christmas.



  1. Nic@diningwithastud

    November 30, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Good job on the panettone. I love it!!

  2. Effie Bakkalis

    November 30, 2011 at 11:12 am

    The food that gets me into the Christmas spirit is “bougatsa”, which is a Greek custard and fillo pastry dessert. Totally yummo! I remember this dessert being made each Christmas Day by my mum when we were little, and now I do the same for my family!

    • Monica

      December 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      That sounds rather delicious. Will have to Google that one and try it :) Thanks for your post!

  3. Effie Bakkalis

    December 1, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I have liked your facebook page and posted my comment there too!

  4. Megan

    December 2, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I too love Panettone but my impatience for bread making (particularly sourdough) means sometimes i am a little hit and miss so i think ill stick to making fruitcake this year. Speaking of which fruitcake! Xmas is the only time of the year i make it, and crackpie, which is totally on the cards this year again. Xmas to me, is always a whole bunch of homemade goodies, jams, chutney, biscuits, chocolates, cakes etc – its the one time of the year that people tend to go out of their way with that sort of stuff.
    oh and Pimms. a big bucket of pimms

    • Monica

      December 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      Christmas is definitely the time to get those goodies going although I dare not go the crack pie… PImms huh? Nice :D

  5. Mademoiselle Slimalicious

    December 3, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Smoked salmon, foie gras (i’m French), turkey and Ferrero rocher are my favourite Christmas food!

    • Monica

      December 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      You got me drooling at foie gras… I bet that is something to look forward to at Christmas time :)) Thanks for your post!

  6. El

    December 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Christmas isn’t Christmas without the Twofer Chinkaussie Lunch Duo….which is apricot glazed ham leg with cloves, paired with five spice crispy belly pork :) Most wanted on the Dad Please Cook For Me list.

    • Monica

      December 6, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      Ahhh. Best of both worlds :) Pork rocks and especially at Christmas time. Thanks for your post :)

  7. Lizzy (Good Things)

    December 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I love the beerenberg products! We visited last year.

    • Monica

      December 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      I’ll be planning a trip down there if I get over to SA :D

  8. Lizzy (Good Things)

    December 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    And PS, panettone shouts christmas for me… even though I am Hungarian, not Italian. Go figure.

    • Monica

      December 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      Well Christmas is certainly an international celebration so why not mix and match cultures? :) There must be some delicious Christmas things from Hungary though I imagine?

      • Lizzy (Good Things)

        December 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm

        Absolutely. See my blog now for a beautiful Christmas Cherry Cake, which is Hungarian.

        • Monica

          December 21, 2011 at 4:16 pm

          Oh lovely! I’ll comment at your blog but I can’t resist a cake with cherries in it :D

  9. Krissy

    December 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    OK this is going to sound a little odd but for me it’s the little bags of gold foil wrapped chocolate coins. They are one of my favourite things about Christmas. We used to get them as kids and I loved them. As soon as I see them in Woolies, it’s on! If we’re talking handmade, it would have to be the shortbread cookies my Aunty makes for us. Yum!

    • Monica

      December 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      Love it! My little girl found a extra shiny $2 coin and tried to peel at the sides :) Shortbread never goes astray. Thanks for your comment! :)

  10. foodie cravings

    December 21, 2011 at 6:14 am

    pulled pork is Christmas food for me…as that’s what my bro & gf always cooks up and I will be bringing it to burger boy’s Italian family’s lunch this year ;)

    • Monica

      December 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      Oh yes :) Pulled pork is definitely a winner :) Sounds like a good Xmas ahead. Have a good one!

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