Memories of advent calendars are tactile and delightful. Searching the ornate image for the tiny numbers, gently prying open the paper, puzzling out the secret meaning of the miniature illustration …
Anticipation of each day’s gathering around the calendar is accompanied by the growing excitement for sparkly, delicious, unknown treats to come.
This year we need every treat and ritual we can find, every expectancy that the unknown future will bring us delights to savor. That the gifts of this winter will, like good toys, bring insight and development.
So after a long hiatus from advent calendars, I have created one for you.
This winter tango dancers do enter the advent, a time of expectant anticipation, manifesting gratitude for our dance and preparing for its revival. Yet 2020 has also reminded us to appreciate other pleasures and connections. And it has given us time to reflect on and care for all aspects of ourselves and our relations.
The TangoForge Advent brings you a daily treat, from today until Christmas Eve, 24.December. They include some of my recipes for food and life, favorite things for gifting and luxuriating, insights and exercises …
Advent 2020 Day 1, 29.November
First things first:
Order the Panettone
Panettone is a special gift to the world from Milan (in the Lombardy region of Italy). The delicate brioche-like cake is expensive because it’s made with natural yeast. This is always hard to manage, but especially so when the dough is half butter and further burdened with dried fruits (traditional) or chocolate (modern).
The baker must attend to the dough at all hours throughout the three-day rising period, and after baking must promptly invert each loaf into a basket to prevent the tender strands of gluten from collapsing under the rich weight.
Panettone are beautifully wrapped for gifting to others or yourself. (I do think it’s important to give yourself gifts, as well!)
Although intended as dessert, Panettone also makes a perfect luxurious Christmas day breakfast.
Snare a true artisan Panettone from Olivieri 1882 or Perbellini. Both ship directly around the world and offer classical Panettone, special contemporary flavors, and Pandoro, a similar Christmas cake without fruits (and therefore able to be a bit taller) which I love equally.
The ancient fermentation method results in a cake that lasts for well over a month, so they are perfectly safe for shipping.
In the US, you can order Perbellini from Formaggio Kitchen.
Please be mindful to direct the money you spend this holiday season to small businesses. Panettone is an opportunity to order something directly from Italy.
And yes, it’s expensive. What I love about that is that what we’re paying for is intensive, attentive labor, and refined skill – as well as a lot of eggs, butter, and fruit.