I remember disliking almonds as a kid, mostly because my mom force fed them to us while she was attempting to follow the teachings of Edgar Cayce, one of America’s “greatest psychics”. The idea was that we should eat three almonds a day to prevent cancer. If only she had given us Jordan almonds!
Pic grabbed from here.
Called “confetti alla mandorla”, these candy-coated sweet almonds show up at every Italian wedding I’ve attended. Placed in a bowl with a spoon next to a stack of white organza bags, Simona served them as favors at her wedding reception in May. At the end of the night many remained, so we each took a small sac home. Just ate some tonight, and got to wondering about the story behind the tradition.
It turns out that many cultures revere the almond. According to this seemingly reliable Wikipedia post, for example, “in Ayurveda, an ancient system of health care that is native to the Indian subcontinent, almonds are considered a nutritive for the brain and nervous system. It is said to induce high intellectual level and longevity”. What that has to do with weddings, I don’t know, but I found it interesting.
The Mediterranean cultures tend to place its powers in the culture of love. Sam Sotiropoulos, the Greek Gourmand, claims, “No Greek wedding would be complete without sugar-candied almonds or ‘koufeta’ [pronounced KOO-FETA] … a powerful fertility symbol “. Read his post for more, and a delicious recipe for almond tangerine bites.
A few candy websites claim that Middle Eastern cultures consider Jordan almonds to be an aphrodisiac. Ahem.
For Italians, the candied almond wedding favors symbolize prosperity and five wishes: happiness, longevity, wealth, children, and health. Hmmm. Hope my eating them tonight doesn’t bring me all five!