Best Panettone

Best Panettone

The best panettone in Italy?

Ask Mr.Sarkozy or Mrs.Merkel.
Or the confectioner convicts in the prison of Padua.

At the G8 in L’Aquila, Mr. Obama, Mr. Sarkozy and Mrs. Merkell preferred the traditional one, with candied fruit and raisins, but there are eight varieties: from the one with chocolate to the “Trappista”, made with beer.

It’s Italy’s best panettone, winner of the 2007 Italian Cooking Academy’s Silver Plate: a niche handmade product that you need to order on the website www.idolcidigiotto.it at least three weeks in advance. And guess who makes it? The convicts in the top security prison of Padua.

Since 2005 the master confectioner Lorenzo Chillon manages a laboratory in the prison’s kitchen. Fifteen convicts work there, both Italians and non-EU citizens, eight hours per day for a salary of 1000€ per month.

Another specialty is the “Noce del Santo” (“Saint’s walnut”). It’s a medieval cake made with walnuts, dried fruit, special flours and honey, a tribute to Saint Antony of Padua.