Fruity Over Fruit Bread

Panettone Autunnale from Emporio Rulli.

Meet panettone, the only fruitcake-like concoction I actually adore.

The others? Cloying, gummy, heavy and dense as can be, they’re the butt of so many tireless jokes. For good reason.

Not panettone, though.

The Italian holiday bread — baked in the shape of a towering cupola — is airy and fluffy, thanks to the long proofing of the sweet dough.

For a really exemplary version, try the one made by the Bay Area’s Emporio Rulli.

Recently, I had a chance to try a sample of its Panettone Autunnale, which is made with olive oil and warm, autumn spices. The regal bread is studded with dried cranberries, pistachios, dried apricots, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. It’s crowned with a baked walnut almond paste glaze, though mine melted a bit in transit, so that’s why you don’t see the white glaze as clearly in the photo above.

The panettone is sweet but not overly so, with a wonderful texture from the lightness of the crumb in contrast to the crunch of the nuts. A big wedge makes for a wonderful breakfast. Or serve it after dinner with tiny glasses of an Italian sweet wine.

Each loaf is $37. But hurry, as the Panettone Autunnale is only available at Emporio Rulli in Larkspur and the Emporio Rulli  Il Caffe on Union Square in San Franciso until Thanksgiving. Better yet, pre-order it by calling (415) 924-7478 or by emailing:

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