My family circle knows that come Christmastime, I enjoy some panettone, the Italian Christmas cake.
My love for this dome-shaped cake, with raisins and candied orange peel, originated in Italy itself, when I spent Christmas 1989 with a university friend, Fede. She and her family kindly put me up for the holiday week, after my epic journey to Berlin.
Although I didn’t speak any Italian, it’s close enough to the Spanish that I know. One morning, I swear her mother said, “Solo mangiare e dormire!”. Fede laughed, and I asked her to translate, but she wouldn’t. But I figured it out (“He only eats and sleeps!”).
Which was true, in that I was too skint to visit the fine museums of Florence.
But with Fede and her family and friends we all had a great time. I felt privileged to meet them all and to experience the holidays, Italian style.
And I enjoyed the panettone and all the delicious food!