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CBS2 Puts Panettone, An Italian-American Christmas Staple, To The Taste Test

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- It's a holiday treat on Italian-American tables, this and every Christmas -- sweet loaves of bread known as panettone.

Shopping for one this year, you'll find the prices range from humble, to high end.

CBS2's Tony Aiello decided to put a $60 panettone to the test -- a taste test.

At Cosmo Deli in Mamaroneck, the approach of Christmas brings stacks of panettone, an Italian bread that helps make a "Buon Natale."

"They're moving. We sold a ton of them and they're still going," owner Pat Colalillo said.

While the sweet loaves with candied fruit typically sell for $7 to $25, high-end markets have panettone for $60 or more.

When asked if it's worth it, Marlene Tutera said, "Well, if you really like panettone."

(Photo: CBS2)

Aiello bought three -- one for $8, one for $25, and one for $60. Each was imported from Italy and made in a labor-intensive process that involves hanging upside down after baking.

The company that makes the $60 panettone said it uses only the finest ingredients, including a dough starter that the company has continuously maintained for 150 years.

"I've never seen a $60 panettone!" Geri Caggiano said.

At Maria Ristorante in New Rochelle, chef Gio Cuccolo led Italian-American friends Geri and Marlene in a blind taste test to see how a $60 panettone fared against cheaper competition.

"Very citrusy taste, kind of orangey, which was refreshing," Tutera said.

"Here, we have a much larger loaf," Cuccolo said.

"It's just okay," Caggiano said.

"This one is very light and delicate," Cuccolo said.

Our panettone pros all liked the $25 loaf from Coluccio best, followed by the humble $8 version from Ferrara. In last place was Forno Gentile's $60 panettone.

"It really was shocking that the $8 one fared better than the $60 one," Tutera said.

While the pricey panettone was the prettiest, Caggiano said, "The presentation, the box looks beautiful to give as a gift."

The taste buds certainly told a different story than the price tag.

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