We’ve returned for a third edition of our vegan panettone review.
We’re doing it differently this year
Choice is more limited this year. Reasons? Ach, I’m not going to get into it in detail, but will say if we paid people for their labour properly and treated them with respect, things would be different all around.
A big surprise is there’s no Selfridges weird concoction panettone! Remember the pumpkin one from 2019? And no Holland & Barrett once again either, which was the least costly and not bad at all. In 2019, the dud was Mindful Bites – avoid – and nope, we’re still not ready to give it one more try.
It’s been my experience, the recipes for commercial panettone don’t change, so these verdicts will still hold. I hope next year, we’ll be back with our trusted testers and many panettoni to choose from, including the artisanal ones we hope you’ll splurge for this year (support the makers!!) and report back.
Panettone is a traditional leavened and baked Italian Christmas cake typically containing sultanas, candied orange peel and delicate aromas. It originated in Milano sometime in the 18th century. It’s packaged in attractive boxes and they’re often given as gifts. Since I can remember, it’s been ubiquitous in shops all over Italy and that fashion has taken hold in the UK too. You can now also find chocolate and other flavour panettone. Commercially made vegan panettoni were rare. Now, they’re available in large supermarkets!
Baking without animal products is obviously possible and the results are delicious. All these panettone are vegan. Instead of dairy butter, these are made primarly with olive oil. None of them contain palm oil (yes, palm oil is suitable for vegans, but there are other factors making it a substance we like to avoid if possible) and they’re all made in Italy (we think).
Go for a truly artisanal experience
There are a few vegan artisans in the UK making their own and they should be commended and supported. For example, Chiara Saitta, a very talented pastry chef will be making both panettone and pandoro to order for collection and delivery in Brighton & Hove from To the Moon and Snack. Pandoro is a similarly leavened sweet cake, but much fluffier and without the candied fruit (all to order)
There’s also Vegan Sweet Tooth, Pomodoro & Basilico, Cornflower Cakes by Iva in Hackney who are also all making panettone to order, and Flora No Fauna Bakery in Ealing is also making both panettone and pandoro.
Next year when we’re back with our trusted tasting team, we’lll have a section devoted to locally made panettone.
Make your own
Since 2019, Vergani has been our favourite and that’s what we bought again this year.
Prices exclude shipping or delivery charges.
A note on packaging, the external boxes for each of these are paper or cardboard and widely recycled. The plastic bag in which each of these panettoni is wrapped is not recyclable unless you have access to specialty recycling facilities.
Vergani Panettone, 750g: £21.50 Red Beetle
Vergani’s come in at the costlier side and with good reason; they use prime quality ingredients and it shows. In this traditional version – we talk about the chocolate drops version below – the sultanas are plump and juicy, the candied orange peel is thick, with a good bite, sweet but not too much, and flavourful, and both are plentiful without being overwhelming. Nothing ruins a panettone more than tough and waxy dried fruit. Even if you have always disliked candied peel, this panettone could change your mind and you should try it.
The texture is springy and pleasantly dense while still melting in your mouth. The fragrance filled the room with vanilla and delicate spices. Good ingredients don’t come without a price, and if you spend over £28 on the Redbeetle site (one of my favourites for Italian foods), shipping is free. They’ve retained the cute packaging design and we happily secured one for ourselves. Verdict: this traditional panettone is superb and has been the firm favourite since 2019
Evvivo Panettone, 500g: £14.99 Planet Organic
Comes in two different flavours this year: spelt and dark chocolate or with raisins
This panettone has no candied orange peel, so it’s for you if you don’t like them. It’s full of sultanas instead and they’re of very good quality, plump and juicy. The texture is denser and not as fluffy as the others, but it’s good. Balanced blend of spices and fragrant. We liked the minimalist look, no twine and the fonts. Verdict: this is consistently our second favourite panettone!
We didn’t buy the Dolce Natale, Go Vegan panettone this year. This was also a favourite in 2019 when it tied for first place. Verdict: highly recommended
MilanoVeg Panettone by Vergani, 750g price ranging from 22.95
We have tried MilanoVeg panettone in the past. It’s also made by Vergani, so it’s very good. It too is less available this year than prior years. I’ve found it here, online at Lina Stores (and check the shop in London if they’ve sold out online) and Amazon. Verdict: highly recommended
Whatever sweets you decide to indulge during this winter festive season, choose vegan. Animals aren’t objects. They too just want to live