Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wedding Favours, a Worldwide Italian Tradition

The tradition of giving small gifts, or "favours" to guests at weddings dates back 300 or 400 years. It seems that the European aristocracy gave away the first wedding favours, known as a ‘bonboniere’- a small trinket box made of porcelain or crystal, often decorated with precious stones and usually containing sugar which was an extremely expensive delicacy at that time and was also thought to have medicinal properties.
The sugar inside the boxes was soon replaced by sugar-coated almonds in Italy, and the world-renowned “confetti” or  Jordan almonds were born, as they are still known today. 5 of these confetti were given to guests at weddings, to represent 5 good wishes for the newly-married couple: Health, Wealth, Happiness, Fertility and Long Life.
Not much has changed today, in Italy. Five (on occasion only 1 or 3, but always an odd number) sugar-coated almonds are still handed out at weddings and other celebrations too, but in recent years, the bomboniere or wedding favours, as they are known in English, have become popular worldwide. 

However, as times have progressed in Italy, an amazing number of new flavours of confetti have been developed, all absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious: chocolate, strawberry, orange, coconut, peach, pineapple, pistachio, limoncello, coffee, truffle.... the choice is endless. The dessert table, so popular at the moment at British weddings, is often replaced by the “Confettata” at Italian weddings, a beautifully decorated table full of glass or silver bowls, or fabric bags containing several different flavours of confetti. Whenever I’m attending an Italian wedding, I can usually be found near the Confettata table, just checking (honest!) that they “taste right”... if anybody comments about me lurking in that area of the room, I like to explain that I’m carrying out “quality control”!!! 

Confetti are also given to guests to take home, in wedding favours, which come in so many shapes and forms: beautiful little boxes, organza, silk or linen bags, arranged inside special confetti holding “petals” made from tulle, artfully arranged into little bouquets , or simply wrapped in tulle and tied with a silk ribbon. There are special shops in Italy dedicated purely to creating, making and selling wedding favours, but in the land where confetti were first made, it is maybe no wonder.

Wedding favours with almonds, chocolates or other confectionery are a lovely, thoughtful idea at any wedding, but in Italy, home to the original Confetti, they are a total MUST!! Anybody coming to Italy to get married can ask Country Weddings Italy for advice on choosing their wedding favours for their guests. I'll even offer to carry out a little "quality control" on the confetti too, if you insist ;-).

Martha Stewart Weddings


Handpainted (edible!) confetti

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