Confetti: everything you need to know
In Italy, they are a must at the end of every wedding, but they are also traditional in Spain, France, Greece and the Middle East and are increasingly popular worldwide. We speak of sugared almonds, the sweetest goodbye of the bride and groom to their guests.
As many people know, these are delicious bonbons that, in their “classic” form, have a fine Avola almond enclosed in a sugar shell. However, the variations are endless: with chocolate, liqueur, fruit, the most varied flavors, every shape and color …
But where does this beloved custom come from? The history of sugared almonds (from the Latin confectus, meaning “prepared”) is very old. Apparently, the ancient Romans already tasted them on the occasion of births and weddings, although the shell was made of hardened honey (and not sugar, a food that would spread only later).
According to other theories, they derive from the common custom around 1200 A.D. of throwing sweets made of almonds, coriander seeds or aniseed covered with a crust of honey to the crowd during carnival. (In English, the word “confetti” means precisely “confetti”).
In any case, around 1400 A.D., sugar replaced honey in confectionery production and in Sulmona (Abruzzo), the prestigious tradition of sugarcoated almond production began.
However, of eighteenth-century French origin is the custom of giving them enclosed in a wedding favor (from the French bombonnière, container for bonbon).
For the wedding, the colour of the sugared almonds must be white, a symbol of purity. It is important that the sugared almonds are always offered in odd numbers: 1, 3 or 5. The odd numbers are indivisible, like the union of the spouses, and a positive value is attributed to them.
Depending on the number, the symbolic meaning of the sugared almonds changes. The single sugared almond refers to the unity of the bride and groom. The group of 3 symbolizes the couple and the first child and is, therefore, a wish for a happy family. The 5 sugared almonds represent health, fertility, long life, happiness and wealth.
Once upon a time, it was the couple that went around the guests with a silver tray and the bride who served the sugared almonds to each one. Today, the sugarcoated almond buffet is very much in vogue, a buffet dedicated exclusively to these little delicacies. By providing many flavours, each guest can serve himself/herself/itself with his/her favourite ones to close the banquet in sweetness. A nice gesture is also to prepare personalized bags that guests can fill with sugared almonds to take home.
Don’t like sugared almonds? A cheerful and surprising alternative with the same role of the confetti is the “candy bar”: a buffet of American origin dedicated to candies of a thousand colors and flavors! Or you can propose a more refined tasting of fine chocolate.