The Original Pandoro
…for more than 120 years
“The Pandoro is the product that best identifies the Melegatti Company.
It’s the result of an invention, testified by an industrial patent and distinguished by a precise date: 14 October 1894. The inventor was a brilliant Veronese pastry chef, Domenico Melegatti who with his creativity gave life to a new iconic timeless product.”
“E l’à inventà
(He has invented the Pandoro)
On March 20th 1895, the Ministry of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce of the Kingdom of Italy issued a “three-year industrial certificate for a patent with the title Pandoro (special dessert)”. In reality, the patent consolidated and formalized a product that was around successfully for some time.
”The Arena” (local newspaper of Verona) on 21st – 22nd March 1894 (six months before the patent) published an advertisement announcing the new product. The article said: “The Melegatti Pastry Chef… warns his numerous and benevolent customers that he has prepared a delicious new dessert, light, inalterable and beautifully shaped. The author deems it worthy of the first place naming it Pan d’oro. ” Regarding this announcement by the Arena, it is interesting to note that the name of the product was not yet the definitive one. In fact, it was written as 3 separate words. The final name Pandoro was first attested on the October patent.
Pandoro immediately had a large group of imitators. On May 24, 1896 Can da la Scala, the satirical newspaper of the city, published a caricature of Domenico Melegatti accompanied by a quatrain in kissed rhyme:
“El sta de fassa a S.Giovanni in Foro
E l’à inventà el pandoro
E i pastisseri da la rabia muti
I l’à voludo simiotarlo tuti”
Melegatti probably had a certain theatrical taste and inclination for public relations and for this reason decided to take advantage of the favorable moment by launching an unusual challenge: he invited the pastry chefs who made a dessert similar to his to divulge the “true recipe” of Pandoro, receiving the sum of one thousand lire as a prize. Melegatti won the challenge: nobody showed up.At the left Domenico Melegatti’s announcement on ”The Arena” (local newspaper of Verona) on 21st – 22nd March 1894.
Pandoro is an original invention, but its inspiration is well rooted in a local tradition linked to Christmas. The ancient custom tells that, on the Eve night, women gathered in the courts kitchens to prepare the “levà” (a mixture of flour, milk and yeast) and then wait for the dawn. Domenico Melegatti started from the recipe of “levà”, he enriched it and finally transformed it: he added yeasts, he increased the butter and the amount of eggs and, at the same time, he eliminated what he believed could be superfluous and counter-productive to a perfect leavening of the dough.
but also the mold…
The characteristic star-based pyramid molds were a creation of Domenico Melegatti. According to the family legend, while he was experimenting the new star mold, a passer-by, in front of the first slice of the new dessert illuminated by a ray of sunshine, exclaimed in amazement: “l’è proprio un pan de oro!” (“It is really a golden bread!”).
“The cake immediately became a great success and in a short time it contributed to the rapid expansion of Domenico Melegatti’s business: it is for this reason that the date of 14 October 1894 can be defined as the starting point of the Melegatti Company.”