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Love can be just like sugared almonds, bitter and sweet. What do you know about almonds and their role in the Italian kitchen?

Posted on may 13, 2022 by Tuscookany Team
Love can be just like sugared almonds, bitter and sweet. What do you know about almonds and their role in the Italian kitchen?

The use of almonds in the Italian kitchen, although still relevant now, can be traced back centuries.  The recipes and traditions are still here but how much do you actually know about this healthy confetti?  Keep reading to find out more....

Almonds are recognised among traditional Italian foods as typically Sicilian.  The city of Agrigento even holds festivals, at the end of March, in honour of the 'blooming' of the almond trees and their use in the kitchen.  However, as you might remember from an earlier blog, local dishes are often popular in foods and meals spread throughout the whole of Italy.  Also mentioned in an earlier blog about the history of Italian ingredients, they are originally traced back to Roman times.  

Sugared almonds (called confetti in Italy) were created during the 13th Century and usually served as a sign of culinary distinction at the end of very important dinners but, of course, we’re talking about modern confetti, covered with a delicious sugar shell here, but the idea of having almonds or even aniseeds covered in a sweet shell was common already in Roman times.  However, the Romans didn’t know sugar, so they would use a paste of honey and flour instead. The confetti we know now are Jordanian almonds that are used at Mediterranean weddings. Almonds are traditionally given in odd numbers, which are indivisible, symbolizing how the newlyweds will share everything equally and remain undivided, and Jordanian almonds are often given five at a time.  Each almond represents a quality that the guests wish for the couple getting married: health, fertility, wealth, longevity and happiness.  The combination of bitter almonds and sweet sugar are representations of a couple’s life together, with the hopes that the newlyweds’ experiences will be more sweet than bitter. Isn’t that sweet?

This geographic spread bears witness to the Italian passion for nuts.  Not just because they are rich in vitamins, proteins and minerals but also because they are a great ingredient for preparing and enhancing many different dishes.  Almond flour also has great versatility in the kitchen.  It’s excellent for cakes and biscuits where it retains more moisture, making any dessert softer.  If you want a more bitter taste you should use ermine almonds but be careful as if they are ingested in large quantities, this variety can actually become toxic to the body!

In short, there is so much you can do with this oily fruit, which is also rich in vitamin E, mineral salts and proteins. If you want to read about all the health benefits of almonds visit this link.

The almond trees start blossoming in spring and so do our own almond trees in Tuscany but unfortunately they do not produce any tasty almonds.  However, we do use the nut a lot in our kitchens.  Learn how to grow your own almond tree here.

Our chefs especially like including almonds in our desserts., for example,  cantuccini, panforte and Amaretti di Soronno cookies.  If you want to learn more about cantuccini then why not read our earlier blog about this yummy treat:   Franco, our chef at the Italian cookery course at Torre del Tartufo teaches his students to make a chocolate cake with almond flour which leaves everyone swooning!  Come to Tuscookany to learn to make this delicious, gluten free cake!

Amaretti di Soronno cookies, is a personal favourite and that is why we have added Paola's recipe here for you.  It quick and easy and a great treat to give your guests at any time! That is if you can resist the temptation of eating them all yourself!!


350 g / 12 oz peeled almonds

250 g / 9 oz sugar

Small pinch baking soda

90 g / 3ó oz egg whites

Icing sugar for rolling





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