With wedding season in full swing, it’s hard not to notice all the appealing pastel coloured confectionery that has appeared – from personalised rock to candy buffets and towering layers of cup cakes and colour coded macarons. With a wedding to plan for early next year, I’m on the look out for sweet inspiration.
One of the most popular and traditional options is sugared almonds, which are rich in cultural meaning, particularly at Italian and Greek weddings. Fresh almonds have a bittersweet taste, which is said to represent life; the sugarcoating is added with the hope that the newlyweds’ life will be more sweet than bitter.
At traditional Greek weddings, sugarcoated almonds are called koufetta, which are placed in little bags in odd numbers and are served on a silver tray. Because odd numbers are indivisible, this symbolises that the newlyweds will share everything and remain undivided. According to tradition, if an unmarried woman puts the almonds under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband.
At traditional Italian weddings, five almonds signify five wishes for the bride and groom: health, wealth, happiness, fertility and longevity. These almonds decorate each place setting as favours, tucked into pretty boxes or tulle bags called bomboniere that are often personalised with the couple’s names and wedding date.
Confectionery is associated with so many special occasions. In some cultures, Christening favours are popular. My German mother presented me with a huge cardboard cone filled with sweets on my first day at school in line with her childhood customs.
In Mexico, a piñata – a container often made of papier-mâché, pottery or cloth – is decorated, and filled with small toys or candy, or both, and then broken as part of a ceremony or celebration.
Sweet things are certainly associated with happiness! We’d love to hear about your sweet traditions.