Emporio Rulli’s $53, 2.5 lb chocolate panettone

Emporio Rulli’s panettone makes Giada di Laurentiis foam at the mouth, so you figure it’s got to be good (Italian + trained pastry chef = knows delicious when she tastes it). I’ve never tried Rulli’s version because the shipping ($31) costs more than the actual panettone ($18.50). Also, I can get an awesome one from Trader Joe’s for $4.99—somehow I doubt the Rulli one tastes 10x better.
But but but—I’ve been really curious to try this chocolate version Rulli makes for Gilt Taste (a site that carries a lot of fancy foodstuffs you’d be happy to gift, but feel guilty buying for yourself). I’ve never seen a chocolate panettone in the stores. And maybe I’m just a sucker for good storytelling, but how can you not want to try it after reading this description? Anyway, the $53 price tag has always held me back from hitting the “buy” button. However, Gilt recently offered a 50% off voucher for everything on Gilt Taste. So I finally caved and ordered the 2.5 chocolate-butter behemoth on Cyber Monday—the 5-cent shipping special was the clincher.
If you haven’t tried panettone, you’ve probably at least seen it on grocery store shelves this time of year. It usually comes in a square box or foil/cellophane wrapping. From the images, it resembles a cousin of fruitbread. Don’t start hating yet, though. Panettone is closer to a buttery bread, like brioche, with small pieces of preserved fruit. I’m not a fruitbread eater (and personally don’t know any under the age of 50 who is), but I could eat light, fluffy panettone year-round. Preferred serving style: toasted with a bit of butter.
Anyway, the Rulli panettone came in the mail beautifully packaged (that’s why these things make good gifts—no additional wrapping needed). It almost made me sad to ruin the wonderful presentation by opening it.
The panettone is “iced” with almond paste, white sprinkles atop. Chocolate and orange peel bits stud the fluffy, bready innards.
Given the way I’d hyped this up in my head, it couldn’t nearly taste as good as I’d hoped. Its main failing is that it’s just not chocolate-y enough. That could easily be solved with bigger chocolate chips. Also, just because you bake something with a buttload of butter doesn’t guarantee moistness (vegetable oil does a much better job). Panettones are actually somewhat dry, as was this one. Orange-chocolate fans will like this, but again, I’d brainwashed myself into thinking that it’d be a much more sublime experience.
In sum: when I think about how many Trader Joe’s panettones I can get for the same price, I can’t justify getting Rulli’s again, even at half price.

2 Responses to “Emporio Rulli’s $53, 2.5 lb chocolate panettone”

  1. 1 KarenKaren
    December 16, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    I also bought that 50% voucher at Gilt City and planned to buy this panettone with it, but it sold out before I could. Now that it’s back in stock, I’m not sure I should.

    Your review is the second so-so review I’ve read about this panettone. How can I justify paying $53 for it? (It’s still 5-cent shipping.)

    I’ve always wanted to try a panettone from Emporio Rulli because of Giada, but the shipping price is outrageous. I can buy a traditional for $18 at Grandaisy Bakery in NYC or Sullivan St Bakery. But I fear I won’t rest until I try this one for myself. And then I’ll spend too much time kicking myself for wasting $53 of my voucher on it! Still unsure!

    • 2 shutyerpiehole
      December 16, 2011 at 3:02 pm

      Yeah, it’s a tough call, even with the voucher! But if you decide not to try the chocolate Rulli, you’re not missing out terribly IMO (my husband is also a panettone fan–he was underwhelmed by it too). BTW I also got some granola with my voucher, the gluten-free one from Good Habit. Now THAT was good!

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