And Then to Verona

Our test kitchen director tours this ancient city and finds an irresistible treat: buttery Christmas pandoro.
pandoro rising

Most people go to Verona, Italy, to visit its Roman ruins, medieval piazzas, and, of course, Romeo’s and Juliet’s houses. We saw all of these, but the real highlight of our trip there was a private tour of the Bauli factory, home of Verona’s favorite Christmas sweet bread, pandoro.

Half a mile in length, this state-of-the-art bakery produces hundreds of thousands of golden star-shaped loaves of pandoro. They also make fruit-studded panettone, croissants, and butter cookies.

It is quite a sight to see the entire process, from the mixing of pandoro and panettone’s mother dough to the final packaging, all done with gleaming robotic equipment.

Machines portion, pan, and transfer the dough through all the many proofing and rising processes, transporting the loaves through the ovens and cooling chambers and then gently plopping them into their pretty pink boxes. The workers guide the highly controlled process, which takes, according to Italy’s DOP (denomination of protected origin) law, 40 hours to produce a bread that will keep for up to six months due to its natural fermentation.

Italians give this luscious buttery loaf to each other throughout the holidays. Sprinkled with confectioners sugar, pandoro is the perfect companion to a caffè macchiato or a cappuccino. And any leftovers make one scrumptious bread pudding or terrific French toast.

Subscribe to Gourmet