Genoa's quintessential pastry-shop specialty—particularly between Christmas and Twelfth Night—is pandolce, a traditional sweet bread originally designed as a showpiece for exotic imported fruits, nuts, and spices. In its original version, it's drier, less risen, and a little more crumbly than panettone, its brioche-like Milanese cousin. Like panettone, though, it is usually store-bought rather homemade—and usually packaged in beautiful ribbon-tied boxes. Pandolce is as much a part of Italian holiday celebrations as fruitcake is in America.
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