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Their History



Man has known the nutritional value of hazelnuts and has been using them since the dark ages, long before the use of olives and grapes.The ancient Greeks greatly appreciated this tree and later in Rome Cato recommended growing it in gardens. Classical poets often refer to hazelnut trees in their works, so we can infer they were quite common in the Mediterranean area. The Romans called it “CorylusAvellana” from the Greek word  “corys” meaning “helmet” referring to the leafy bract protecting the hazelnut acorn.In the ancient times hazelnut wood was considered a safe defense against snakes, so shepherds used it for making sticks.


Their Characteristics


Hazelnut tree belongs to Corylacea family. This shrubby tree grows 3 to 6 metres in height, its foliage is quite large and uneven. Its roots are long, ramate and rather superficial. Branches are long and pliable; leaves are deep green on the upper blade and light green below.Male flowers grow in inflorescences and open up in December; female flowers grow in inflorescences, too, on one-year-old branches or at the basis of male flower peduncule. Anemophilis pollination takes place between December and February.

nocciole1The fruit starts growing in May. It is an akene whose shape depends on the quality: the typical “NocciolaPiemonte” is round-shaped and covered with an involucre called cupula. It can grow sole or in groups consisting of 2, 3 or more fruits. Its flesh is white, crunchy, oily and tasty. When the fruit is ripe, it comes off the involucre and falls to the ground.


Nutritional Qualities


Hazelnuts are very rich in fats 90% of which are unsaturated fatty acids (oleic and linoleic) that are very important in human diet as they can protect tissues from aging. Thanks to them, hazelnut oil is quite the same as olive oil.  177 frutta-secca-disano-nocciole-in-guscio They are very rich in vitamin E and contain phytosterol, a substance which can prevent cardiovascular diseases. A recent report has shown that eating hazelnuts regularly can lower LDL cholesterol level and triglycerides. 

100 grams nutritional value: carbohydrates 16.7; proteins 12.7; fats 63.1. 100 grams of shelled hazelnuts provide 628 calories.


Where They Are Produced 


nocciole (1)

Turkey is the main producing country in the world (78%), but the fruits imported form there are contaminated with toxic substances which might be carcinogenic. Then we have Italy (Campania, Lazio, Piemonte and Sicilia), the USA and Spain.


Piemonte Hazelnuts I.G.P.


249 frutta-secca-disano-nocciole-piemonte-tostate

Trilobate “tonda gentile” is the variety which is grown in Piemonte, particularly in the areas of Cuneo, Asti and Alessandria (Langhe, Roero and Monferrato are the geographical zones they come from). I.G.P. appellation guarantees quality and genuineness of the product. 


This kind of hazelnut is greatly appreciated by confectionary  industry for its characteristics: round shape, post-roasting excellent taste and aroma, it can be easily peeled and has a long shelf life. For all these reasons Piemonte hazelnut is regarded to as the best in the world.




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