Confetti: Italy’s Celebratory Candy

italian sugared almonds in bags

Confetti might bring tiny colored pieces of paper to mind, but that would be “coriandoli” in Italian. In Italy, confetti is a traditional sweet that is given out at celebrations. The sugar-coated almonds are a major part of Italian wedding traditions but are also handed out as gifts to guests at major events like births and baptisms.

Italian confetti flowers

You might recognize these Italian sugared almonds as “Jordan almonds” but they are very much an Italian culinary invention. Confetti are the key part of the bomboniera, or wedding favor, and to have a marriage without them is almost unthinkable.

The almond candies are often put together in small tulle bags, but they can also be twisted together into the shape of a flower. The number of petals on the flowers is symbolic, with the five sugared almonds representing Happiness, Health, Fertility, Longevity, and Wealth for the newly married couple.

italian sugared almonds in bags

If the confetti is given out in a pouch, it almost always comes in multiples of the 3s or 5s. If given in threes, it is meant to symbolize the groom, the bride, and their future children. Even numbers are believed to be unlucky.

Some others say that the candies are given out at weddings because they are bittersweet. The sugar coating is the sweetness that will help the couple through the bitter times that the almond represents.

History of Confetti

The word “confetti” probably comes from the Latin word confectum, which can mean “wrapped.” The tradition of little wrapped goodies or sweets coated in honey is thought to date back to Roman times.

Dried fruit and sweets were doled out during celebrations in Italy in the Middle Ages, as well.

However, these unique Italian sugared almonds really start to emerge in the 1400s in the town of Sulmona. The fact that almonds are nuts (seeds) may also have a not-so-subtle link to the idea of fertility.

boxes of confetti

Italian Confetti Colors

You can find Italian confetti in a rainbow of colors, and they can even be stamped with the logos of sports teams or Disney characters. Traditionally, there is a meaning behind the color of Italian confetti, and this varies by event. However, these days, rules were made to be broken and some couples will coordinate their confetti and wedding colors to add a pop to their big day.

  • Weddings: White
  • Communions and Confirmation: White
  • Births and Christenings: Baby Blue or Light Pink
  • Red: Graduation
  • Anniversaries: Silver or Gold
  • Multi-colored: Birthdays and other celebrations

Pelino Confetti Museum

If you want to go to the heart of Italy’s confetti obsession, you need to visit the charming Abruzzo town of Sulmona. This is where the most famous confetti brand of all is based: Pelino.

Pelino was founded in 1783 and is still family-owned. The sweets company makes confetti using traditional machines with hands-on touches at most stages. 

display at Italian confetti museum

Today, you can visit the Pelino factory to buy confetti in a huge range of colors or to select the perfect bomboniera. After making your purchases in the showroom, be sure to wander upstairs to the confetti museum.

confetti museum sign

On your way, you can catch a glimpse of the production process and see some of the famous faces who have enjoyed the quintessential Italian sugared almonds over the years.

pope receiving Italian confetti

 

2 thoughts on “Confetti: Italy’s Celebratory Candy

  1. Angela Speck says:

    I loved your article, Natalie. It was sweet and complete. Being Italian, who travels to Italy and Sicily yearly with my husband, I loved learning more about the custom of handing out
    White candy covered almonds at weddings. I would love to learn more about Italian customs from you and hope to live in Italy someday.

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