Well, now that the season of Pannetone is upon us. I find myself once again facing a paradox that has always baffled me.
I have often been told thing about Pannetone that, to me sound ludicrous. Things like "Pannetone is too complex to make on a small scale, it NEEDS to be made in a factory. And even "Pannetone NEEDS to sit around in a warehouse or container ship for a few months in order to taste right."
These things go against everything I feel about food (Of COURSE a small batch hand baked ANYTHING will be better than a mass manufactured one, and a fresh cake will be better than a months old one in a cardboard box.)
But the fact still remains that, empirically, those first people seem to be right. That is, whenever I HAVE gotten my hands on a Pannetone that was actually freshly baked by a small bakery, it is HORRIBLE. And that applies to places that should presumably know what they are doing, like bakeries in Little Italy. I know at least SOME of these places have authentic bigas (starters) so the "the boxes are better because they are made in Italy and anything from Italy is inherently better than anything made here" argument doesn't make sense either.
So what's the deal? Am I just finding an endless list of lousy bakeries, or is the whole "Factory beats everyone" thing actually true?
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