The Panettone King of Toronto

By Fiesta Farms

/Dec 4 2021

Joe Furfaro

We love Joe Furfaro. He’s been at Fiesta Farms since we opened our doors in 1989! And we love panettone. As we like to say – we are more Italian than the Italians when it comes to panettone. This year Joe has put together a selection of more than 160 panettones for you to try. One. Hundred. And. Sixty. That must be some kinda record. Henceforth Joe shall be known as The Panettone King of Toronto!

Read on for some interesting facts about this delicious Christmas cake? Or is it a bread? What the heck is panettone anyway?

Traditional Milanese panettone. Photo courtesy BBC Travel.


Panettone is a sweet bread made with cured dough. It was created in Milan during the Renaissance. According to the Guardian, Italians trademarked the recipe to preserve its unique preparation so that “manufacturers in other countries who change the ingredients or do not follow the traditional methods of baking will have to call their products by generic names such as “sweet festive bread” or “sweet Christmas cake”.”

Even though it was invented in Milan, did you know that most Milanese don’t eat panettone on Christmas? Well they do, but there’s another time of year that’s even more important for panettone. Here’s the story, excerpted from BBC Travel:

Nearly everyone you ask in Milan knows that you’re supposed to save a slice of panettone at Christmas to eat on 3 February. And even if they don’t do it themselves (few younger people tend to anymore), they can all tell you the story why.

According to legend, San Biagio (St Blaise) saved a child who was choking on a fish bone by giving him a piece of bread. And so, along with his list of other talents (including protecting farmers, mattress makers and forests), he also is said to protect throats. Some people still pray to him when they feel a sore throat coming on.

On the feast day held in his honour, 3 February, many people eat a slice of panettone that they saved from Christmas to eat now. The bread, long dried out (‘poss’ in Milanese dialect), often is toasted and eaten with butter.

One young woman told me her grandparents still do it every year. “Does it work?” I asked her. “Yes,” she said with a laugh. “They don’t get sick!”


There you have it. Now all you have to do is come in and choose which one you’re going to take home. We’ve got more than enough for everyone – so you can enjoy it on Christmas morning, and still save a few delicious slices for February!