Let’s talk about confetti
White, red, green, blue, pink. With the heart of almond, hazelnut or, following the latest gastronomic trends, pistachio, rum and pear, Neapolitan pastiera. Let’s talk about confetti: small sugar-coated grains, inevitable during weddings and ceremonies in general. Few know the history of confetti, their origins, the events, the curiosities that led them to be the symbol par excellence of parties and celebrations
The word confetti derives from the Latin conficiere or “pack, manufacture”. Not surprisingly: it seems that the custom of celebrating births and weddings with dried fruit wrapped in a layer of honey was already widespread in ancient Rome.
Other sources, however, trace the origin of the confetti to the Byzantine Empire and to a certain Al Razi who, to make his officinal preparations less bitter, covered them with a sweet shell.
In the Middle Ages, the Genoese expansion in the Canaries and Madeira the production and availability of sugar increased and, with him, also its use in pastry.
The real trend of the confetti, however, will have to wait two centuries, that is when the sugar, exported to the New World, will return to Europe to be refined in the cities of Bologna and Antwerp. A habit of rulers and lordships, during the Renaissance confetti would be appreciated by many nobles to the point that, it is said, 300 gilded and sugared grains were served at the wedding between Beatrice d’Este and Ludovico il Moro.
Why the almond?
But why has almond traditionally become the soul of the confetti? Beyond its easy retrieval, then consider, some argue, the symbolic value of this fruit: similar to the spinner in which Christ and the Virgin are historically represented, the almond would in fact be an icon of virginity. Nothing more appropriate for wedding parties.
Curiosity about confetti
After retracing its origins, here are three curiosities about confetti
- During the Tuscan Renaissance, to appease the insatiable appetite of the Florentines, some laws were enacted which prohibited “sugaring”, or eating sugared almonds, a habit that was proposed in an immeasurable way;
- The saying, now in disuse, “having eaten the confetti of Pope Sixtus” is analogous to the more well-known “arrive like a bolt of lightning” and refers to the episode during which the Pope, tired of the disputes between the Roman patrician factions , to give them a lesson of sure efficacy, he invited a representation for lunch and, during the tasting of the confetti, he showed them the towers from which their followers hung, hanged;
- Before becoming an important Italian fashion brand, Luisa Spagnoli founded Perugina together with Francesco Andreani, Leone Ascoli and Francesco Buitoni, a confectionery company initially engaged in the production of sugared almonds.
We have seen that behind these apparently simple colored or white and sweet beans, there is a long history, made up of symbols and beliefs to be discovered. In the next article we will talk about the meaning of confetti. In the meantime, take a look at the dedicated section and follow us on Facebook!