Monday, January 6, 2014


The holidays are over, and with them the grandiose dishes that celebrated them. This year, we roasted our first Christmas goose. So tasty, so beautiful, so expensive... A tragic love affair that won't be easy to shake off. If you see me strolling pensively along the beach this winter, you'll know what I am thinking about. Anyhoo, to counterbalance the poultry heartbreak, I'm happy to report that we scored some fantastic authentic Italian panettone and pandoro right here in DC just in time for Christmas. Mr Bee and I were going to Eastern Market to purchase the aforementioned goose (see? I can't stop talking about her!) when we saw that a window of The Silver Spork was decked from top to bottom with Loison panettoni, pandori e focacce veneziane.

You might wonder, what is Loison? Loison is a lovely brand from Vicenza, near Venice, that produces traditional baked goods that I'm excited to eat even in Italy. Their panettone is famously soft, buttery and fragrant; it comes in a lovely wrapping, and it's a mile above the usual industrial panettone from more common national brands like Bauli or Motta. Of course, the best panettone or pandoro should come fresh out of the oven of a local bakery or pastry shop, but since there are no such places here, Loison offers the best alternative.

Each of these breads costs about $20, which is not cheap, but still better than paying a small fortune for a lesser brands at The Italian Store or at Rodman's. Incidentally, I bought an Easter colomba at Rodman's one year: For $30 I got a cake that literally underwent instant mummification as soon as it came in contact with the Earth's atmosphere, so I was not eager to try their Italian Christmas selection.
Traditional Pandoro: A tower of butter covered in sugar.

So get a panettone or a pandoro if you still can. And you might want to try the Focaccia Veneziana, which is a sort of softer panettone without raisins nor candied fruits that is sold in the colder months in Veneto. I have to say, the Loison one doesn't have the traditional crunchy sugar&almond top of the original, but, my goodness, it's still so good.
Focaccia Veneziana. My favorite breakfast since 1976.

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