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To Get the Best Panettone, Make Sure it Comes from Italy or Spain

Italy claimed 1st place at the World Team Panettone Championship with Spain taking home 5 special awards

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By Condé Nast Traveller Middle East | December 23, 2023 | Travel Leisure

We already know which country prepares the best panettone in the world: this 2023 the prize has been won by Italy. This was decided by the jury of the World Panettone Championship held this weekend in Milan.

Italy won three awards, the best classic Italian panettone, the best chocolate panettone and the best innovative savory panettone. The award was received by the president of the Accademia Maestri del Lievito Madre, Claudio Gatti, captain of the Italian group made up of three great pastry chefs and panettone experts, including Aniello di Caprio and Giuseppe Mascolo.

Japan won the silver medal for the best savory panettone and Argentina the bronze medal for the best innovative packaging. The Spanish team won five special awards: second best chocolate panettone (together with Argentina); third best classic panettone; best team work; best table and best presentation dossier.

The participating teams, which included Spain, Italy, Poland, Argentina, Germany, France and Japan, had to make a classic Italian panettone (with candied fruit), a chocolate panettone and a third salty and innovative panettone. The Spanish team's panettone was inspired by the popular bread with tomato and ham. The preparation of the panettones took place during this week in Verona, while the professional jury made the tasting, evaluation and proclamation of the winners this Saturday, October 14 in Milan.

An award-winning classic Italian panettone is made with candied fruit. Image via Pexels.


The Spanish team was made up of some of the best panettone creators in the country such as: Ton Cortés, from Cloudstreet Bakery (Barcelona), Rafa Aguilera, from Cal Jan (Torredembarra) and José Manuel Marcos Candela, from Crujiente (Redován, Alicante), all of them starters. The first two were proclaimed winners of the Best Artisan Panettone of Spain competition in 2020 and 2021, respectively, and Candela is a successful pastry chef with experience in international competitions, who was proclaimed runner-up in the world ice cream competition in 2018.

The team, which has been training for the past few weeks at the Escuela de Pastelería del Gremio in Barcelona, also had the collaboration of other great panettone professionals: Alfonso Quintero (Seville, Best Iberian Panettone 2022); Daniel Jordà (Barcelona, Best Panettone of Spain 2022) and Miquel Saborit (who has been making panettones since 2010 with his own brand) are also part of the team as substitutes.

In addition, the Spanish team has been coached by José Romero, professor at the Escuela de Pastelería del Gremio de Barcelona, recognized expert and organizer of the Best Artisan Panettone of Spain Contest.


The members of the Spanish team are all passionate about panettone. Tonatiuh Cortés, a musician by profession, came to Barcelona from Mexico 15 years ago to study medieval music, but it was after finishing his studies when, influenced by Ibán Yarza, he changed his profession.

Passionate about bread and dough, he trained for a year at the Barcelona Reykjavik bakery and opened Cloudstreet Bakery in 2013, where he makes all his products in an artisanal way and with his own sourdough.José Manuel Marcos was a maintenance mechanic and welder. Until one day he fell in love with pastry. With a self-taught spirit and an enormous entrepreneurial vocation, he soon opened his own business, but he had to close it. In 2009 he started again a project that this time would end in success: Crujiente Petits Plaisirs, in Redován (Alicante). A creative pastry shop that has become a benchmark in the area.Rafael Aguilera de Cal Jan, Torredembarra, trained at the Hoffman Pastry School and with experience alongside professionals such as Toni Viñas, Jordi Bordas, Josep Maria Rodriguez and Eugeni Muñoz, did want to be a pastry chef from a very young age. He makes modern, signature pastries, and one of his differential points are his creative individual cakes.Panettone arrived in Spain at the end of the 90s and in industrial format. A few years later it was already on all supermarket shelves. But it was not until 2015, approximately, that it became popular in artisan format in pastry shops. Today, it is experiencing a real boom throughout the country. For the professor of the Barcelona Pastry School, José Romero, the key to its success among the public is its versatility: "it goes with everything, everyone likes it and it keeps well". He also points out that artisan pastry chefs have become hooked on panettone "because of its difficulty, because it is a real challenge for any professional"