We never considered selling panettone. It’s usually dry and tasteless. It’s the Italian equivalent of a fruitcake. Someone gives it to you as a gift and then you have to figure out what to do with it. Panettone are usually hard, dry and stale. Receiving a panettone as a gift is not really something to look forward to. Until now.
We visited Acetaia Leonardi in the fall of 2012 with some customers. We had a quick meeting with them and we began discussing new products for us to import. The panettone was first on the list. Immediately, we thought of the countless panettone that were being sold in the United States and our negative opinion of them. Would we be able to sell a product that we didn’t believe in for what would be premium pricing?
We decided to order three cases of panettone so our customers could try them and we could determine whether or not to order them the following year. We thought this would be the end of the discussion about a seemingly tasteless cake that nobody really wanted. We were wrong.
After our meeting, Francesco Leonardi, the owner of the Acetaia, brought the panettone out to us and our customers with coffee. He sliced the cake, and we took a sample. After one bite, we increased our order to 10 cases. The cake was soft, fresh and moist. Balsamic cream was swirled throughout the inside of the cake. It tasted nothing like we were expecting. The customers that were with us also wanted several cases, so we eventually increased the order to 20 cases.
With our minds changed about panettone, we arrived home excited about this delicious cake. We held it in the highest regard. We told countless friends, family and customers about the most incredible panettone we have ever tasted and received the same response from nearly everyone: “You ordered how many? Are you crazy? You’re never going to sell that many panettone!”
The shipment finally arrived and we began to offer samples of the panettone in our showroom (our retail store was not opened until the following year.) We sold all of our stock in 9 days.
Customers were coming back to get more of the delectable cakes and we had to turn them away. We were asked when more panettone would be arriving.
Panettone is a traditional Christmas cake in Italy and is only produced once a year in the fall. Every year we have sold out of this product. Customers now order their panettone each August so they are guaranteed to get some for Christmas.
We invite you to stop by our retail store when the panettone shipment arrives to try a sample. One taste will change your mind about panettone. It changed ours.