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Sugared almonds date back to the days of the Romans, who used to celebrate weddings and births with them. Obviously those sugared almonds were not made by using the same ingredients as the ones used today: in fact, honey replaced sugar. You can find pieces of news about sugared almonds in some works about the Fabi family (447 B.C.) and in the works by Apicio (37 A.D.), a friend of Emperor Tiberio. Modern sugared almonds started to be produced in Sulmona in the fifteenth century: that is confirmed by some documents dating back to 1492-1493 preserved in the City Archives. In addition Sulmona is the leader in the artistic production of sugared almonds. In fact, in the fifteenth century the nuns who lived in the Convent of St Chiara used sugared almonds, tied up with silk threads, to make flowers, bunches, ears and rosaries. Still today Sulmona is without any doubts the birthplace of sugared almonds. In Sulmona you can even visit the "Museo dell'Arte e della Tecnologia Confettiera" ("Museum of Sugared Almond Art and Technology"), which is a national monument . The most important firms producing sugared almonds in Sulmona are Di Carlo firm, dating back to 1833, and Pelino firm, which is the most ancient and the one gaining prizes all over the world; in addition it is the only firm that does not exploit starch in the production of sugared almonds, thus following the most ancient recipes. The typical sugared almond is made up of an inner core called "anima" (soul), consisting of a shelled, peeled whole Pizzuta-of-Avola-type almond. It is coated with superimposed layers of sugar through several soakings. The sugared almond keeps the shape of an almond seed, i.e. it is very flat with no speckles and cracks. The outer coat is smooth, white with porcelain glints. The sugared almond's size and weight vary according to the almond's size. The sugared almond's "anima" can also be made of other kinds of ingredients, e.g. hazelnut, cinnamon, chocolate, pieces of candied fruit, pistachio, nuts coated with sugar and/or chocolate. In those cases shape and size of sugared almonds will depend on their "anima". Machines called "bassine" are used to coat almonds with sugar: almonds and sugar are worked together in copper or steel caldrons turning continuously. The sugared almond's outer colouring dates back to more modern times. It varies according to the kind of ceremony, happy event or important anniversary that is celebrated: e.g., for Weddings, First Communion and Confirmation the sugared almonds are white; they are light blue or pink for Baptism; they are green for engagements; the ones used to celebrate degrees are usually red; finally the sugared almonds used to celebrate birthdays are multicoloured.
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