It’s that time of year again
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The appeal of panettone — much less where to procure the best one — can be a divisive topic among family and friends. There are those who insist they “just don’t get it,” while some start stocking up as soon as the holiday sweet bread hits shelves come mid-fall. Others, still, maintain that they have no qualms with the idea of a boxed, cellophane-wrapped Italian dessert, but would much prefer a slice of pandoro, the star-shaped, powdered-sugar-dusted cousin of the panettone. Even once you think you’ve found the right person to share in your panettone passion, chances are, there’s one more knotty conversation to be had: dried fruit or not?
In this guide, we feature Montreal restaurants, cafés, counters, and bakeries that either carry a handpicked selection of imported panettoni (that’s the plural form in Italian) or their own creations. There are other spots, such as Fruiterie Milano and Berchicci in St-Leonard, that boast elaborate displays of brightly hued packages, but picking one from from the many that line their shelves can feel like a shot in the dark for anyone without a cognoscente in tow. The establishments on this list have done the bidding for you.
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
114 Rue Fleury O, Montréal
QC H3L 2T6, Canada
Check off classic, chocolate, or lemon panettone for dessert on La Bête à Pain’s comprehensive holiday takeout menu. It comes courtesy of Stefano Faita and Michele Forgione, household names in Montreal, where they own several beloved restaurants (Impasto, Gema, Vesta, Chez Tousignant), and a three-year-old line of specialty grocery products, called Aliments Faita Forgione, of which the panettone is a part. Also available at IGA and other independent shops, like Quincaillerie Dante.
709B Rue Jarry E, Montréal
QC H2P 1W2, Canada
This traditional Italian coffee shop run by former Caffé San Simeon barista Piero Corrado Ciampoli is carrying a selection of imported panettone, including from small Sicilian bakery Fratelli Sicilia run by brothers Salvo and, coincidently, another Piero. Opt for the salted caramel panettone, or a strawberry one, made with fruits grown in the slopes of Mount Etna.
151 Rue Villeray, Montréal
QC H2R 1G4, Canada
On the corner of Villeray and Casgrain, a couple blocks east of Jarry Park, lies Café Vito, a diminutive coffee shop, hangout spot, and, this time of year, reliable panettone purveyor. According to the café’s social media accounts, supply is already running thin, so best to try and get your hands on a fluffy Fiasconaro dome soon. (The Nero Sublime variety is packed with a specialty cold-pressed chocolate from Modica, Sicily.)
6500 Ave Christophe-Colomb, Montreal
QC H2S 2G8, Canada
The hype surrounding this Petite-Patrie bakery run by award-winning baker Julien Roy is entirely warranted, and now that Automne has come out with its own raisin-studded panettone, it may well be among the most coveted on this list. Traditional panettone gets its height from sourdough starter, not commercial bakers yeast, and if the loaves of fermented dough that Automne has been churning out since 2016 are any indication, they’re adept at using it.
69 Rue Saint-Zotique E, Montréal
QC H2S 1K7, Canada
Little Italy cafè and pizza shop San Gennaro takes a page from the birthplace of panettone with a window display of neatly stacked boxes reminiscent to those seen in Milan at this time of year. They’ve got much-loved panettoni from the likes of BreraMilano 1930, Amarena Fabbri (baked by Cova Pasticceria, one of Italy’s oldest bakeries), and even Dolce & Gabbana. Might as well grab a slice of al taglio potato pizza and a pistachio bombolini while there.
418 Rue Rachel E, Montréal
QC H2J 2G7, Canada
Pastry chef Eric Goeury is the driving force behind les Co’pains d’abord’s popular panettone, this year available online for delivery across Canada. Pick between the standard version bedecked with citrus and raisins, or one laced with dark, milk, and Valrhona concentrate chocolate.
1256 Rue Ontario E, Montréal
QC H2L 1R6, Canada
Armed with years of culinary training in Italy, where he was born, Sandro Carpene doesn’t shy away from blending traditional craftsmanship with local ingredients. Classically flavoured panettone is in the offing, but so is a more home-brewed take, featuring Quebec maple syrup, and a chocolate one made in partnership with Café Olimpico.