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Italian food is one of the most appreciated in the world. In fact, a study commissioned by Napolina found that the average Brit will enjoy an Italian-inspired dish at least twice a week, with half stating this is due to its versatility. At Christmas, Italian gastronomy certainly shines, and Brits are increasingly taking notice.
Waitrose is reporting sales of Italian desserts like panettone are up 57% year-on-year, while Selfridges ordered 80% more stock of its salted caramel panettone last Christmas, after selling out in 2020. Since 2004, the number of searches for panettone on Google from the UK has increased almost five-fold – indicating British curiosity for Italian festive delights.
One of the reasons that Italian Christmas treats such as panettone are having such a moment could be because producers are starting to break from traditional recipes and offer more variety for their customers – including vegan and gluten-free options.
Italian food wholesaler Skoulikas is seeing the demand for free-from panettone growing year on year, while Cotswold Fayre has noticed alcoholic flavour twists creeping in, resulting in items such as Limoncello Panettone.
It is also endlessly versatile as there are dozens of ways to enjoy panettone – toasted with butter, as part of a bread-and-butter pudding, chopped into fruity croutons, or as an Italian version of French toast. It is this versatility that has won over the UK, as chefs, foodies and retailers alike yearn to experiment.
Artisan Italian products like high-quality oils, panettone and alcoholic beverages also make the perfect gift for hosts or loved ones and are a great way to boost the festive spirit.
As Brits open their minds and hearts to traditional Italian desserts and dishes on the Christmas dinner table and at seasonal soirees, fine food retailers are well placed to cash in.