Wondering about Jordan Almonds, the ubiquitous wedding treat? These fancy, sugarcoated candies are rich in flavor and in cultural meaning, particularly at Italian, Greek, and Middle Eastern weddings. Whether decorative items, party favors, or simply nutty nibbles, here's a taste of these confections' yummy symbolism.
GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE Fresh almonds have a bittersweet taste, which represents life. The sugarcoating is added with the hope that the newlyweds' life will be more sweet than bitter.
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 favors, tucked into pretty boxes or tulle bags called *bomboniere* that are often personalized with the couple's names and wedding date.
GREEK WEDDINGS Sugarcoated almonds in traditional Greek weddings are called *koufetta*. They are placed in little bags in odd numbers and are served on a silver tray. Odd numbers are indivisible, symbolizing how the newlyweds will share everything and remain undivided. Tradition holds that if an unmarried woman puts the almonds under her pillow, she'll dream of her future husband.
MIDDLE EASTERN WEDDINGS Candy-covered almonds, considered aphrodisiacs, are always on hand (have too many and you may leave the reception early!).
A SWEET IDEA Jordan Almonds make great wedding favors -- wrap a cluster in tulle tied with ribbon, pack a few in boxes (made of sugar, straw, paper, metal, or plastic), stuff some in decorative bags, or pour a handful into champagne glasses or glass bowls. Attach a little card with a note explaining the almonds' meaning (so guests know they're not just an intermezzo between the salad and the filet mignon).
Consider using this Jordan Almonds poem:
Jordan Almonds for Thee
Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet. Five wishes for the new husband and wife -- Health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life!
by Jill Girardo