Italian Bakery Breaks Holiday Record With a 308-Pound Panettone

Marco Bertorello, Getty Images
Marco Bertorello, Getty Images

Italians have been serving panettone at Christmas for centuries, and now a bakery in Milan has put an over-the-top twist on the traditional treat. As The Local reports, San Gregorio Patisserie now holds the record for the world’s largest panettone.

The leavened fruit cake clocked in at 308 pounds and measured over 6 feet tall when it was removed from its special oven. Baking a regular panettone is already a labor-intensive process: from cultivating the yeast, to baking the dough and cooling the cakes, it can take several days to turn out a single loaf. The bakers at San Gregorio needed even more time than usual to ensure their super-sized creation was cooked all the way through.

The Milan patisserie first opened in 1945, and panettone is one of their signature items. They ship their loaves all over the world, with 200 going just to New York City at this time of year. Their recipe includes all the traditional panettone components—like raisins and candied citrus peels—but the bakery’s owners Angelo Bernasconi and Savino Moretti credit their success to their mother dough. (According to The Local, legend has it that the master baker they inherited it from originally added a bit of horse urine for an extra kick.)

Whether that story’s true or not, holiday shoppers were happy to sample the record-breaking panettone when it was distributed for free at the Victor Emmanuel II shopping gallery in Milan. The towering confection produced 1200 slices in total.

Men standing next to giant panettone.
Marco Bertorello, Getty Images

[h/t The Local]

Florida Waffle House Is Giving Away Free Food to Hurricane Michael Victims

Barry Williams/Getty Images
Barry Williams/Getty Images

If your community has been hit by a hurricane and you want an idea of how it's coping, check your local Waffle House. The southern chain is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and only closes under extreme circumstances. The restaurant so rarely pauses its operations that FEMA has been using something called the Waffle House Index to gauge the severity of natural disasters since 2004. Now a Waffle House in Panama City, Florida, has shown that even a Category 4 storm isn't enough to shut it down for good.

After closing due to Hurricane Michael earlier in October, the Florida Waffle House set up a food truck in its parking lot to hand out free food to community members, ABC 7 reports. "We are giving out free food curbside until 6pm. #ScatteredSmotheredandRecover," the chain tweeted on Monday, October 15, along with a picture of its truck parked beneath a beat-up sign. Waffle House later tweeted that the truck would return to the same spot at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 16.

Hurricane Michael hit the Florida panhandle on October 10 and swept through the southern U.S., killing at least 19 people and leaving thousands without power. The Gulf Coast received the brunt of the storm, but Waffle House has reported that, along with its Panama City location, the Lynn Haven, Florida, restaurant is running on a generator and back open for business.

[h/t ABC 7]

The Nightmare Before Dinner Cookbook Features More Than 60 Tim Burton-Inspired Recipes

Fans of Tim Burton’s movies may already know about Beetle House, the eatery—one in New York City and one in Los Angeles—where “every day is Halloween.” The decor is spooky, the staff dress up like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, among others, and the menu is decidedly morbid.

You don’t have to make a special trip to sample their Frog's Breath & Nightshade Risotto, though. As Parade reports, the restaurateur behind Beetle House has created a cookbook titled The Nightmare Before Dinner: Recipes to Die For: The Beetle House Cookbook.

It's written by restaurant creator Zach Neil, whose love for Halloween came later in life. “Raised in a religious family that didn’t allow the celebration of Halloween, I dreamed of that amazing day when people dress up, express themselves, and, of course, get tricked or treated!” Neil writes in the cookbook’s introduction. That day finally came, and he now hopes to share that love with loyal fans of the restaurant, as well as those who haven’t had the chance to visit.

More than 60 recipes from the Beetle House are included in the cookbook, which is broken down into seven chapters. There are separate sections for sauces and dips (like the Dead Sauce), appetizers (Brains & Chips), soups and salads (The Butcher’s Stew), main dishes (Sweeney Beef), desserts (Bloodbath Cobbler), and cocktails (The Beetle’s Juice). Neil said the restaurant includes a vegan alternative to almost every dish on the menu, and some of those meat-free options are reflected in the cookbook.

The final section of the book, titled “Put the FUN Back in Funeral,” features ideas for Halloween and even Christmas parties. The Nightmare Before Dinner, priced at $16.51 in hardback or $11.99 for the Kindle version, is available for order on Amazon starting October 16.

[h/t Parade]