The sugar coated almonds known as “confetti” are present at nearly every important occasion in Italian life, especially weddings. For centuries, Italian brides have been handing out confetti at their weddings in hopes for a sweet life full of good luck.
Confetti are meant to represent the bittersweet life of a married couple. The sugar coating is added to the bitter almonds in the hope that the newlyweds will have more sweet times than bitter during their lifetime together. When confetti come in boxes or bags they are called bomboniere and serve as place settings or favors.
The candy is given out in odd numbers, most often threes and fives. Three almonds symbolize the bride, the groom and their future child; five almonds represent five wishes for the sposi: health, wealth, fertility, happiness and longevity.
This tradition dates back to the ancient Romans who celebrated births and marriages with the distant ancestors of today’s confetti and began the tradition of the bomboniere. In fact, the term confetti comes from the Latin ‘confectum,’ meaning “prepared or wrapped.” In the Middle Ages, the term referred to jams or dried fruit covered in honey, yet the confetti that we know today was first produced around 1400 in the city of Sulmona.
The fabrication of confetti began in Sulmona, located in the Abruzzo region of Italy, in the early 15th century. In that same century, the nuns of the Monastery of Santa Chiara began to utilize the confetti in the preparation of flowers, grape bunches, wheat stalks, rosaries and baskets. It was at this point that the Confetti of Sulmona began to be marketed around the world – well known for their delicious taste due to the purity of the sugar used in the production. Today, one of the biggest producers of confetti in Italy is Confetti Palazzone.
After opening a pasticceria in Sulmona in the early 1990s, Giancarlo Palazzone founded Confetti Palazzone in 2000. Driven by the success of the pasticerria, Giancarlo decided to expand the Palazzone product line and create his own brand of confetti to sell in the bakery. At the time, the idea was outrageous to family and friends, as the confetti industry had been until then, unchallenged and dominated by two prominent families that co-founded the product in the early 1700s. Yet, Giancarlo remained dedicated to his dream and launched Confetti Palazzone.
In less than two years, Confetti Palazzone became a huge success, with Giancarlo exporting his product around the world. The new Confetti Palazzone redefined confetti. Once-upon-a-time only white organza bags held the white confetti and were tied with a white ribbon. Today, bomboniere come in all different colors and flavors and containers are all shapes and sizes.
Giancarlo and his family have since left Sulmona and are now owners of the highly successful Palazzone 1960, located at 190 Route 23 in Wayne, New Jersey. Visit the bakery today to purchase Confetti Palazzone for your wedding and keep an Italian tradition alive.