Confetti from Sulmona

Pubblicato da Italiani Angelo il

The traditional confetti of Sulmona can be seen everywhere in Italy.

This is not the paper stuff thrown at weddings, but fabulous sugared coated almonds of every colour and popular gifts handed out at the end of marriage ceremonies and other such romantic occasions. 

Origins of Confetti

For the origin of confetti we must look back to the ancient Romans, who celebrated births and marriages with the distant ancestors of today’s confetti. Testimonies have been left for us by both the Fabi (447 BC) and Apicius.

Until the Renaissance they, and other sweets, were made with honey and they were mentioned in a literary work by Boccaccio and in a sonnet by Folgore di S. Gimignano (14th century).

The introduction of sugar cane into European kitchens in the 15th century changed everything and marked the beginning of the modern era for confetti, also for Sulmona. Local archives speal of the years 1492 to 1493. 

The artistic nature of sugared almonds also originated in the same century and at the Monastery of Santa Clara where sugared almonds were tied with silk threads to make presentations such as flower bunches, rosettes and baskets.

As in antiquity, confetti were not just for ceremonial use during the Renaissance. They were also served during important meals.

Genuine sweetmeats made of candied fruits or, as we learn from a manuscript of 1504:

"with almonds, dried fruits, aromatic seeds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, or cinnamon, covered with a hard coating of sugar".

Pelino Confetti museum

Let's Talk Pelino 

One of the first, and perhaps most famous of the local factories, is 'Pelino' which was founded in 1783.

Close to the historical centre of Sulmona, visitors are more than welcome. An original part of the factory can be visited and a small museum completes a short but fascinating tour.

Pelino still follows scrupulously the ancient formula and a patented system which still manufactures their sugar coated almonds with a special recipe whose characteristic is the total lack of starch or flour together with the purity of a sugary coating covering the core

As well as almonds, this core can also be glazed or candied fruits, chocolate, hazelnuts and pistachios. 

The result is a sweet with a natural friability, deep flavour and fragrance and the right proportion of sugar inside. 

Note that starch would make them heavy and alter the delicate flavor. To prove if your confetti are the real thing, place the sugared almond in a glass full of water.

If the water becomes cloudy, it means that starch is present. A sugared almond without starch, on the other hand, leaves the water clear.

Pelino Confetti factory

However they are made, the presentation of the final product lends itself to wonderful creativity. 

Our main image above shows them presented as flowers, but you might see bunches of grapes, ears of wheat, rosaries and many other imaginative designs.

Confetti are, however, just a part of a huge sweet industry based in Abruzzo

Torrone, or nougat bars, are made with chocolate (L'Aquila) or figs (Chieti) while other classic Abruzzesi sweets include 'Croccante', 'Bocconotti', 'Parrozzo' and 'Pan dell'Orso'. But there are many more. 

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