Lake Como’s traditional Christmas sweets

Christmas Sweet

At Christmas all over the world there is something sweet and special to offer to our loved ones

Just over a week till Christmas and the organization of lunches and dinners begins to come alive: appetizers, first courses, main courses, side dishes and fruit. In Italy you get to the end of the meal and you are ready to burst. But it is not Christmas without a special dessert prepared for the occasion. Lombardy, our region,  can boast the primacy for the invention of Christmas desserts: just think about how famous panettone and torrone are around the world.

In the Lombard capital you cannot miss the panettone. Around Christmas they are everywhere!! According to a legend, it was born from the mistake of a young cook at the court of Lodovico il Moro who, having burnt bread for the Lord of Milan, managed to fix it by mixing eggs, sugar and spices and then gathered the praises of the whole court. More likely, panettone is a popular product and its name derives from its size. The preparation – an authentic ritual – took place under the supervision of the landlord who engraved a cross before it was cooked as a sign of the blessing of the cake that was eaten on Christmas Eve in the family around the earth.

On our beautiful lake there is the Bisciola, also called Besciola or Pan di Fich, often eaten instead of the classic panettone, it is less soft than the latter, but much more nourishing. It is a loaf of buckwheat enriched with chestnuts, dried fruit, raisins, figs and walnuts and has a delicate aroma and a fruit flavor. Excellent garnished with zabaglione cream.

In Como, the symbol of Christmas is miascia, made with stale bread (pan poss in dialect), white and yellow flour, fresh and dried fruit. In Bellagio, on the other hand, the Pan mataloch is a sweet bread, which  presumably dates back to the time of the Spanish domination in Lombardy. The mataloch is prepared with flour, sugar, butter, eggs, honey, yeast, raisins, candied citron and orange, walnuts, hazelnuts and dried figs. The particular aroma of anise that characterizes this dessert comes from the fennel seeds that appear in its dough.

Pan Mataloch


​More recent origins for the Matoch, (top featured image) sweet of Olgiate Comasco. Eggs, flour, yeast, sugar, butter, salt, almonds, amaretto, honey and figs are the protagonists that make up its taste.


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