Panettone with diamante citron and marron glaces, a unique flavor and aroma to your Christmas
Spread by the Jewish population throughout the Mediterranean basin, today citron is also grown in India, the United States, Brazil Australia and the Middle East. This citrus fruit, which boasts many health benefits, is also found in the southern regions of Italy, in Sicily and Campania. The most highly prized variety is grown in Calabria, along the famous Citron Riviera, in a strip along the coast in Alto Tirreno that goes from Belvedere Marittimo to Tortora. The variety in question is the Diamante citron, whose fruit (according to the scriptures) are sought every July and August by rabbis around the world for the feast of Sukkoth. Ripe citron is picked between the end of October and beginning of January. For local workers, this product offers unparalleled wealth deserving of protection, which is why they created a consortium for Diamante citron to bring value to the land, incentivize the economy and to ensure that the entire supply chain happens locally.
In the kitchen
The citron’s peel is very important, not just for its nutritional value but also its flavor. That’s why when you buy a citron, choose one with a nice peel with no marks. It is often used by the dessert industry, grated to flavor creams, desserts and sorbets, or to make citron liqueur. Chop it into small pieces with raisins, bundle them with citron leaves, tied with broom strings and cook them in a wood oven; it’s a local secret called Panicelli d’uva. And it’s not just for sweets. Citron is also perfect to pair with fish or to give a tart twist to cold pasta, as well as preparing syrups and drinks.
Diamante Citron can give a unique, Christmassy flavor and aroma especially to panettone. Among the most famous artisanal panettone creators is Bruno Andreoletti, whose bakery in central Brescia has come up with combinations like Diamante citron with marron glaces; Sorrento lemon and white chocolate; or figs and plums.
Did you Know that
Not only do they have a unique flavor, they are also rich in nutritional value, aid digestion and are a disinfectant. They are very low in calories—about 11 per 100 grams when fresh—so they’re recommended in low calorie diets. But citron is also used in the cosmetic industry to create soap, shampoo, perfume and air freshener. Just a few drops of citron essential oil can even help the appearance of cellulite. Its aroma is so strong that you can cut one in half and put it in the fridge to capture all the odors. Citron is not edible in its raw form, and requires certain transformations. That is why almost all citron produced is destined for the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.