panettone_veroPanettone is a holiday must and a tradition in over two thirds of the world. And since Thanksgiving is around the corner followed by Christmas, & New Year’s eve, what’s a better time than now for getting one...

Problem is… to resist indulging in one it until then.  And I don’t see why we should. What could be better than the tall and deliciously moist brioche-like cake studded with dried raisins and candied fruit, aromatic with orange and rich with egg and butter, for breakfast with coffee,  or as French toast, or as toasted croutons  in a salad or as dessert with a glass of Port, VinSanto or even prosecco?

A traditional medieval Italian recipe,  panettone was commercialized at the beginning of the 20th century by Angelo Motta who gave it it its tall domed shape by making the dough rise three times, or almost 20 hours, before cooking, giving it its now-familiar light texture. The recipe was adapted by commercial giants like Nestle and, by the end of World War II,  panettone was cheap enough for everyone and soon became the country's leading Christmas sweet.

Northern Italian immigrants imported their love of panettone to Argentina and Brazil  and today panettone – also known in Spanish as "Panetón" or "Pan Dulce" -- is a must at Christmas and New Year’s Eve  with cider, hot cocoa   or liquor in all of Latin America.

Made in the authentic Italian fashion, the Brazilian-made Bauducco Panettone — each Bauducco Panettone takes approximately 52 hours to make from start-to-finish, before they are allowed to cool, and are packaged for sale  — incorporates the highest quality ingredients like Sun-Maid raisins and candied fruit in the traditional panettone and – in a new take on tradition – Hershey's chocolate chips.

Great for inexpensive creative holiday recipes Bauducco Panettone also makes a creative and useful alternative to office gifts.   Bauducco Panettone Gran Natale, with almonds and a sugar glaze, comes in a premium package for an especially impressive gift. Pandoro, a new addition to the Bauducco family this year, is a specialty cake with powdered sugar frosting.
Bauducco Panettone is already available for the holiday season at grocery stores, drug stores and mass market retailers nationwide.




 babycake pop maker

You can now bake your cake in minutes, have fun and eat it without feeling guilty about adding too many calories to your daily diet or to your children’s snacks and parties or spending too much money on treats!

Since I received the Flip-Over Cake Pop Maker (MSRP $39.99) I can hardly conceive having a Halloween party without low fat, low sugar and delicious little pop cakes that can be decorated any way you dream of to the delight of grown-ups and kids!

The makers of the Babycakes appliances  manufactured by Select Brands, Inc.,   have come up with an easy to use, small baking appliance, similar to a sandwich grill,  that bakes perfectly-round golf ball size cakes or donut holes in minutes.

The non-stick coating makes baking and clean up fast and easy. It includes a rotating feature to ensure that evenly-browned cake pops every time, as well as accessories you need to bake and decorate cake pops or donut holes such as a Batter Bottle, 2 Cake Pop Stands, a Fork Tool and 50 Treat Sticks (6").

The manual includes a variety of tips, recipes and tricks to make from donut holes and Halloween treats to turkey meatballs and any other small bite you can experience with.  the Flip-Over Cake Pop Maker (MSRP $39.99) is a cost-effective, easy to use and versatile appliance that parents and kids will love.

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In addition to the Flip-Over Cake Pop Maker  The Babycakes line of appliances includes the Chocolatier (MSRP $9.99), a 20-ounce small pot used for melting chocolate for dipping cake pops, donuts and fruit;  The Waffle Stick Maker ($24.99) which makes five golden brown waffle sticks in minutes,  the Pie Maker ($29.99), great for making individual quiches, a Decoration Station, a Full-Sized Cupcake Maker, new baking mixes and new cookbooks.

Available online at and at nationwide retailers like Kohl's and Bed Bath & Beyond, the Babycakes appliances make a great and affordable  Xmas present. 



queens diamond jubilee
The third and fourth generations of the Walkers family which has produced the renowned shortbread for 114 years at Walkers Shortbread bakery in the Scottish Highlands, has launched a 15.8 oz special edition, commemorative tin to honor the Queen's 60th year, Diamond Jubilee.
Walkers was founded in 1898. The only other British monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee was Queen Victoria in 1897
Queen Elizabeth II will officially kick off her Diamond Jubilee at Buckingham Palace on the weekend of June 2-5, 2012 before embarking on a yearlong world tour.
The Queen came to the throne on February 6, 1952 and her coronation took place on June 2, 1952. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee (25 years) in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee (50 years) in 2002. Diamond Jubilee celebrations are planned throughout the United Kingdom, including a River Pageant on the Thames, a concert at Buckingham Palace and the lighting of 2012 beacons throughout the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
In anticipation of this event Walkers Shortbread bakery’s design competition was hosted by Buckingham Palace and the BBC's blue ribbon program for children between the ages of ten and fourteen. With 35,000 submitted entered, the winner, ten-year-old Katherine Dewar's came up with the one-of-a-kind collectors’ tin winning image.
The selection of Walkers’ shortbread cookies inside the tin is a selection of all-natural shortbread cookies, including ten triangle shortbread cookies, five shortbread rounds, five oval shortbread cookies, three shortbread fingers and four chocolate chip shortbread cookies all suitable for vegetarians and certified kosher OUD.
The 15.8 oz commemorative tin will be available in the family’s  original retail shop in Aberlour in the Highlands and at

Bialetti's Aeternum Cookware: quaint looking but tough as nails

bialetti 1

Bialetti, the leading Italian cookware and stovetop coffee maker brand has come up with a brand new line — Bialetti’s Aeternum cookware —  in its top kitchen and houseware products.  Bialetti's new Aeternum sauté pans come in eight-inch, 10.25-inch, and 12-inch diameters. The 12-inch version comes with a lid — which is the one I tried.

Bright red, with a pristine white interior, it seemed at first too quaint and delicate to use. But I went ahead and treated it as a regular sauté pan with my recipe of sautéed chicken breasts with caramelized preserved lemons, leeks onions, garlic and herbs.  I used little oil (after all, this is a non-stick pan). Not only the caramelized part was golden, the onions and leeks sautéed to a silky texture and the seared chicken perfectly brown, but the deglazing was easy. And best of all, after cooking, the cleaning of the pan was done in a jiffy. The interior remained as white as before use.


bialetti 2

The 12-inch deep pan is ample enough for large or small quantities and the tall sides keep the food from spilling our while stirring. The pan comes with a glass lid so you can see everything that’s going on in it, it is perfect for steaming and even boiling pasta.  No matter what you cook in it I wouldn’t discard the option of bringing the whole pan directly to the table! The color is right and so is the size.

bialetti inNo wonder The Aeternum is Italy’s number one selling non-stick pans. The white part — the nanoceramic non-stick coating consisting of silicon based ceramic microparticles — provides a smooth, compact and uniform surface with an amazing resistance to scratching and high temperatures.   Thanks to its heavy-weight coined base it provides even heat distribution and its silicone handles are anti-slip, stay cool to the touch and are very comfortable.

The Aeternum is available in a beautiful red exterior finish and includes 8”, 10” and 12” sauté pans, a 2-quart saucepan with glass lid and a 12” deep sauté pan with glass lid and is currently available at and with a suggested retail price of $19.99 – $69.99.

For additional information log on to  Bialetti (

We’re very fortunate that more Italian-style gelato companies are opening in the US.  The latest,  Muse Gelato, based in Orlando, FL,  was inspired originally in 2005 by husband and wife team Brandon and Andi Moss.  A healthier alternative to regular ice creams and other frozen creamy desserts,  gelato contains  about 30% less fat than regular ice cream.  Yet, it is creamier and more intensely flavorful  than its icy counterpart.

The proof was in the incredibly delicate and intense pistachio gelato I had, just before trying the hazelnut, which once I did, propelled me back on the streets of Verona, Italy, where, after visiting Juliet’s House I had the most unforgettable hazelnut gelato of my life. That is, until I tasted Muse’s.

The  gelato-loving couple has perfected more than 150 flavorful recipes and is constantly innovating.  In January, expect Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Gelato (a creamy mixture of homemade toasted marshmallows, rich chocolate gelato, and chocolate sauce); Almond Toffee Crunch Gelato (almond gelato with tiny buttery toffee pieces woven throughout), and Tangerine Sorbet (made with Noble Tangerine Juice freshly sourced from Winter Haven, Florida).

For romantic February,  they’ve come up with Italian Kiss “Bacio” Gelato, a sumptuous flavor made with pieces of hazelnut and mixed with chocolate gelato. In honor of New Orleans and Mardi Gras:  King Cake Gelato.– With a perfect combination of cinnamon, vanilla, cream cheese, and colorful frosting (think purple, green and gold) woven throughout , this flavor is bound to make you feel like you’re right on Bourbon Street.

March will find Chantilly White Rose Gelato, Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Gelato, and Orange Blossom Tea Sorbet .

After years of developing gelatos with intense flavors, chefs from all over the city were requesting Muse Gelato in their restaurants. Soon after, the little company produced product for a local Wholefoods Market and became only a manufacture of wholesale products. Today,  the gelato cases in Whole Foods Markets nationwide carry exquisite ingredients like real raspberries, green and jasmine tea blends, and more.

But don't feel limited by this list (even though there are hundreds of flavors here!). Muse Events & Catering can create custom flavors to suit your event. For additional information and contact, log on to

Food & Wine Talk Radio

Achile Sassoli, Director of Gelato World Tour
and Gelato Artisans:
James Coleridge, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Abdelrahman Al Teneji, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Matthew Lee, Austin, Texas
Ahmed Abdullatif, Kingdom of Bahrain
Stefano Versace, Miami, Florida
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