Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas all' Arancia

Oh, the joys of non-traditional grocery stores, which make it possible in a big city to find the sort of thing one might find on the side of the road in less urban areas. These oranges not only looked lovely, but tasted sweet and wonderful. (But I confess, I bought them just because they looked lovely with their stems and leaves still attached.)

One of the biggest surprises for me this Christmas was finding in another store, without even looking for it, this box of Pandoro, the traditional Italian cake I like so much. "Pandoro" means "bread of gold." It's a simple, buttery, Christmas-tree-shaped cake that you coat with powdered sugar by shaking it in the plastic bag it comes in. At least that's the way the boxed version is done. I've now found a recipe for it that I think I'll try, so probably won't include the plastic bag part.

The first time I came home from Italy while living there, I tied a big box--bigger than this one, probably about 12x8x8--to my backpack and carried that cake all the way home for Christmas. It wasn't easy! That was before planes were so space-conscious, though, so aside from the awkwardness, it wasn't really a problem.

Most years I try to remember to look for these at a small store called Mantia's. If I don't think of it early on, they are sold out by the time I get there, and all they have is Panettone, which I've never cared for because of the candied fruit it has.

This year I was so distracted by the job situation and various weekend activities, that I completely forgot to go by Mantia's until I knew it was too late, and there was no point.

And then, standing in line at Fresh Market, I looked and beheld these beautiful boxes! And of course brought one home. And it was delicious. But as with the oranges, as you see, the visual treat was just as fulfilling as the treat for the tongue:

1 comment:

Lucy said...

I've often been tempted to buy panettone simply for the tins, with the beautiful pictures that look like childhood picture books I can't quite remember. I don't care for the peel either though!

I also buy the clementines with the leaves still on, they're so much more special.