Best shop-bought panettones for Christmas 2021
Perfect with coffee or sweet wine, panettone (an enriched brioche-like bread) is an absolute must for Christmas. Here's our guide to the best shop-bought versions, as reviewed by Lulu Grimes.
Panettone is a traditional Italian cake with a sourdough base (referred to as the mother yeast), and an open, light, yielding texture. Traditionally risen slowly over a few days, panettone is baked in a tubular mould that results in a dome-shaped top and good height. Classic panettone contains candied citrus and raisins (in Italy this is taken as seriously as any classic recipe), but there’s a yearly competition that gives bakers a chance to get creative with flavours. In the UK, popularity has grown over the past few years, and some panettone brands have even made specialist flavours for the UK market – it appears we are fonder of caramel than other countries. Here are some of our favourite panettones for 2021.
Best panettones to buy in 2021
Lina Stores traditional panettone (1kg)
If a classy, pared-back gift look is what you are after on the panettone front, then Lina Stores' packaging is a winner – it really is very pretty. Inside, you’ll find a large classic panettone with a soft, buttery texture and plenty of raisins and candied orange.
Available from Lina Stores, £25.95
Crosta & Mollica apricot panettone (500g)
Filled with candied apricot, this panettone makes a change from classic citrus flavours, and has the same soft texture and heady floral aroma. Beautifully wrapped with a ribbon and gift tag for giving away, or at this price, buy one for Christmas breakfast – it goes very well with a glass of prosecco or coffee, if you prefer.
Available from Ocado, £11
Made in Oldstead white chocolate and sour cherry panettone gift set
A twist on a classic, this white chocolate and cherry dotted panettone has a dry crumb and an extra tang from its sourdough base. Michelin-starred Chef Tommy Banks' creation comes with an amaretto glaze that infuses the sweet bread with a deep almond essence. Three unique accompaniments are included in this set perfect for gifting: a silky smooth lemon verbena curd with a hint of rosemary, damson jam and a lightly spiced plum jam.
Available from Made in Oldstead, £49.50
Strazzanti Panettone Siciliano Pere e Cioccolato (750g)
Embrace a Sicilian-style Christmas with this luxurious pear and chocolate panettone, made with Sicilian ingredients and no preservatives. Arriving in an extremely prettily wrapped package, the moist bread has chocolate running through the dough as well as a rich chocolate glaze - follow the Strazzanti sisters top tip of warming it through slightly before serving for maximum fragrance.
Carluccio's Festive Clemente & Cioccolato Panettone (1kg)
Carluccio's has a whole range of panettones to choose from this year: take your pick from sweet maraschino cherries to vegan of gluten-free options. We love this ultra-festive clementine and chocolate offering, studded with juicy candied clementine pieces and coated with a rich chocolate glaze for added sweetness.
Mindful Bites Organic Veganettone Classic Box (500g)
Vegans don’t have to miss out this Christmas: the ‘veganettone’ from Mindful Bites is fully plant-based and also organic. Using artisanal Italian traditions passed down through four generations, it has a classic sourdough base and is studded with candied peel and sultanas.
Morrisons The Best panettone (750g)
Winner in its category in our 2021 Christmas Supermarket Awards, pick this up on your big Christmas shop. With an appealingly shiny crust and rich golden colour, this classic brioche-style panettone is filled with good-sized pieces of fruit and is not too sweet. Vanilla and citrus notes come through, with just a hint of booze to finish.
Aldi Specially Selected Panettone (Chocolate) (750g)
Runner up in the 2021 Christmas Supermarket Awards panettone category, this bargain option is a great alternative to the traditional versions. For a sweeter version of a classic panettone, this chocolate panettone was filled with rich dark chocolate chunks. The bread had a good texture and deep salted-butter flavour.
Muzzi panettone with Fabbri Amarena cherries (1kg)
Muzzi have been making panettone for over a century, and their mother yeast is over 80 years old. Still produced in Foligno, the company makes several different flavours of panettone. We’ve tried the pear and chocolate, classic and marrons glacés flavours (among others), but it’s this one, a collaboration with Fabbri using their fantastic Amarena cherries, that we are loving this year. All Muzzi panettones have soft, yielding doughs and masses of flavour. Buy an extra jar of the Fabbri cherries or a bottle of cherry liqueur to serve with it as a dessert. This comes hand-wrapped in pretty, branded paper with a thin ribbon bow.
Available from Melbury & Appleton (£27.99)
Fiasconaro x Dolce and Gabbana mandorle di Sicilia (1kg)
This new-for-2020 panettone with a soft, indulgent texture makes a really special gift (for yourself or anyone else) because of the gorgeous limited-edition tin (which also makes a very good cake tin in the future). Stuffed with raisins soaked in Vecchio Samperi (an aromatic, aged marsala wine), pearl sugar and almonds, and covered with icing and even more sugar and almonds, this is perfect for people who don’t like the candied citrus in the more classic versions. Very special and very moreish.
Available from Marco Alimentari, £43.95
Loison Panettone with marrons glacés (600g)
Family-run Italian bakery Loison is best-known for its panettones and pandoros, which it has been making for over 75 years. Anyone who loves the flavour of chestnuts at Christmas will love Loison’s extra-special marrons glacés panettone. It starts with the bakery’s light, buttery signature panettone, then candied chestnuts and sweet chestnut purée are dotted throughout.
Available from Sous Chef, £18.99
Seggiano classic panettone (500g)
Slightly drier than many panettones (and that’s not a bad thing), this cuts easily, and goes very well with a glass of sweet wine for dipping (softer varieties don’t stand up to this kind of treatment as well). This is made in small batches with organic eggs and butter, and is pleasing in its simplicity. Try it in bread and butter pudding, as the texture soaks up the custard well and bakes to melting softness.
Available from Seggiano (£14.90)
Fiasconaro luxury pistachio panettone x Dolce and Gabbana (1kg)
This panettone made by Fiasconaro in Castelbuono, Sicily comes topped with a white chocolate glaze studded with pistachios, plus a jar of outrageously good pistachio cream to slather over slices with the gold spreading knife provided – if you are a pistachio fan, look no further. This light-textured cake has no added fruit to compete with the pistachio spread. The square cake tin makes a beautiful package for a gift, if you can bear to give it away.
And if money is no object….
Sal de Riso gold panettone (1 kg)
Made by the Sal De Riso bakery on the Amalfi Coast, this is likely the most exclusive panettone you’ll have come across, with a blow-the-budget price tag to match. It’s made using a 60-year-old mother yeast, and comes covered in edible gold leaf on a special plate. The heady aroma is much stronger than many panettone, perfuming the room as soon as you open it, and the flavour delivers the same punch – it's a mix of honey, vanilla and candied orange. There's also chocolate frosting, and chocolate pieces inside.
Christmas baking recipes
This review was last updated in December 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@.