The Noble Italian Hazelnut

If you find yourself in Italy at first sign of autumn you will encounter a feeling of excitement in the air as autumn in Italy is a time of great harvest for everything from vineyards to mushrooms, chestnuts and hazelnuts. The most world renowned hazelnuts are extraordinary in flavor and famously known “Tonda e Gentile” hazelnuts, or to me The Noble Italian Hazelnut.

The Royal Difference

The “Tonda e Gentile” hazelnuts from the Langhe area are truly one of a kind. Distinctive characteristics and cultivated with the highest level of regard. Anyone and everyone that has an interest in Hazelnuts knows that the very best come from the Piedmont Region. The area where the hazelnuts are cultivated is so concentrated in high quality land and cultivation of foods and wines that it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The protected geographical indication (PGI or IGP) is a badge of honor guaranteeing excellence, tradition and specialization. The specific Piedmontese soil is able to sustain the hazelnut trees producing a sweeter, more delicate hazelnut. In fact it is the ONLY region that is able to sustain these particular hazelnut trees.

Hazelnut Plant in Turin

“Tonda Gentile del Piemonte”, translates to “round noble from Piedmont”. Dante once described this particular hazelnut as “Round was she, beautiful, and of noble aspect”. Cultivating these hazelnuts is done in the highest of tradition and with great care.

Small in size but mighty in flavor and history, there is no denying the differentiation in flavor that is the “Tonda e Gentile” hazelnut. Intertwined throughout the variety of hazelnut chocolates we know and love. In particular the famous Cremino, Gianduiotto and my personal favorite, a spreadable Nocciolata, all distinct in flavor and class.

Next time you take a trip to Italy, perhaps you detour to the Piedmont Region to visit the rows of hazelnut trees. Lined exactly 5 meters apart, you see firsthand how new methods of cultivation do not veer too far away from the traditional way of gentile and tender care given to the cultivation of these wonderfully sweet and noble hazelnuts.

If you are able to try one on their own it has been noted that you might be spoiled and never want for another type of hazelnut again.

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