The New York City drugstore at Christmas is flush with panettone. Packed in ingenious trapezoidal boxes, they sit next to the Kit Kats and lighters. Their packaging reads “D’Onofrio” and “Bauducco,” names that seem like they might hail from Milanese streets or Roman marketplaces. In fact, the panettone you might have brought home from your local Duane Reade probably does come from afar––but not from Italy. No, more likely it was made in Brazil or Peru, today home to the largest manufacturers of this holiday treat.
So how did this Italian delicacy make its way from thirteenth century Lombardy to twenty-first century South America? And what does it mean for panettone that a new generation of American consumers are being exposed to a mass-produced Brazilian or Peruvian product rather than an artisan loaf shipped from Italy?