Piedmont offers a long range of food specialities, and one of them is hazelnuts. The ‘Nocciola Piemonte I.G.P.’ are known as the best hazelnuts in the world, and are primarily grown in the the provinces of Langhe, Cuneo, Asti and Alessandria. The history of hazelnut cultivation has developed along with the evolution of the confectionary industry in Piedmont, and the nuts are primarily used by various chocolate manufacturers in the region – and of course by Ferreo in their Nutella production! In the 1940s, when cocoa was in short supply due to World War II rationing, Turinese confectioners would mix in hazelnuts to extend the chocolate supply. This resulted in the discovery of Gianduja, which is a mix of chocolate and hazelnuts and a now famous Piedmontese speciality.
Cravanzana is a small town approximately 20 km from Roccaverano, which is known as the “Barolo of Hazelnuts”. The hazelnut cultivators of this area specialize in a breed of hazelnuts called Tonda Gentile, which is classified as “Nocciola Piemonte I.G.P.” Nocciole d’Elite is a small family-run business in Cravanzana which owns 12 hectars of 40 year old hazelnut trees. Here you can buy hazelnuts and a variety of hazelnut products directly from the farm.
Buy yourself a bag of Piedmontese hazelnuts and try this easily made Piedmontese hazelnut cake:
- 200 gr. Piedmont Hazelnut IGP
- 200 gr. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 35 gr. butter
Use butter at room temperature and mix with the sugar; add the yolks, the finely crushed hazelnuts and egg whites that have been whipped till stiff. Pour the mixture into a pie dish covered with baking paper and bake at 180° for about 40 min.