Confetti from Sulmona

26 August 2010 Published in Abruzzo Food
Confetti of Sulmona Confetti of Sulmona © Copyright Delicious Italy


Aldimar Video Productions

The traditional confetti originating from Sulmona in Abruzzo can be seen everywhere in Italy. This is not the paper stuff thrown at weddings, but fabulous sugared coated almonds of every color. They are popular as gifts handed out at the end of marriage ceremonies and other such romantic occasions.

The industry developed in the town around 250 years ago. One of the first, and perhaps most famous of the local factories, 'Pelino' dates from 1783 and the oriignal part of the factory can be visited very close to the historical centre of Sulmona. Inside the doors is as close to a real Willy Wonka chocolate factory as you can get, although what we see is as much for presentation as use. A small museum completes the tour

Pelino Confetti museum

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. But until the Renaissance they – and other sweets – were made with honey. The introduction of sugar cane into European kitchens in the XVth century marked the beginning of the modern era for confetti.

In the Renaissance, as in antiquity, confetti were not just for ceremonial use. They were real 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. And they were habitually served not only at wedding banquets, but also at many important meals.

The best-known confetti are those with almond centers, chosen from the finest Sicilian almonds (from Avola, in the province of Siracusa). Other centers include glazed fruits, chocolate, liquor, anise seeds) and all are covered with sugar without the addition of starch, which would make them heavy and affect the flavor.

The almonds are, however, just a part of a huge sweet industry based in Abruzzo. The 'torrone' or nougart bars are best eaten in chocolate (from L'Aquila) or fig versions (from Chieti), while the 'Mostaccioli', 'Taralli' and 'Caggiunitti' should also be sought out.

Other classic Abruzzesi sweets include 'Scrippelle', 'Parrozzo' and 'Bocconotti'

Pelino Confetti factory