The sweet taste of panettone has become a staple on many holiday tables over the years. The fluffy, dome-shaped bread—filled with dry raisins, and orange, lemon and citron zest—is believed to have originated in Milan, Italy, before eventually making it to across the Atlantic to the United States … and, recently, into an East Quogue butcher shop.The Village Prime Meat Shoppe on Main Street boasts an unusually large panettone. Wrapped in silver cellophane, the largest loaf in the butcher shop tips the scales at 11 pounds.
Mike Mattera, whose family has owned the store for 28 years, said his customers are fascinated with the giant panettone, which costs $150.
“It’s cool—they love it,” Mr. Mattera said, explaining that the 11-pounder was imported from a baker in San Giorgio a Cremano, a primarily residential town in Naples, Italy. The East Quogue shop has received about 300 panettones of all different sizes this year from bakers throughout Italy. The smallest panettone in the shop weighs 2.8 ounces and costs $3.99.
Every year without fail, the spirit of Christmas, highlighted by shipments of seasonal panettone, arrives at Village Prime in November. Mr. Mattera explained that his family and business partners—they include his father, Sonny Mattera of Hampton Bays, and siblings Linda Mattera of Queens and John Mattera of Hampton Bays—like to start decorating the shop well before Thanksgiving because it allows customers to start getting menu ideas for their Christmas holiday meals.
The shop is already filled with festive red and green decorations, Christmas lights and a large Santa Claus statue.
“Over the years, Christmas has been very busy,” Mr. Mattera said. “People like to do Christmas right.”
Noting that they are always looking forward to Christmastime, the Mattera family has also started lining their shop with holiday treats, many of which were imported from Italy. Tiny Fiats filled with creamino, as well as candy layered with chocolate and coffee, line the counter. The shop also boasts an assortment of oils, vinegars, cheeses, prosciutto and pastas from Italy.
“We like to have everything up because, you know, you have people coming in for Thanksgiving so they have ideas come Christmastime,” said Mr. Mattera, explaining his family’s reasoning for the early decorations. “I know … I walk into stores that have a lot of [Christmas] things [and] I’m looking for ideas.”