Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The amazingly delicious Hazelnut!!!

Nocciola is one of the most classic and delicious of our gelato flavors. Also known as a Filburt or Cob Nut, hazelnuts are rich in Protein, Thiamine, and Vitamin B it makes a spectacular gelato and you can find it at any Capo location almost every day! We also love to mix it with chocolate and have three different chocolate and hazelnut flavors so you can find your perfect match. Nutella is one of everyone's all-time favorites, if you haven't had real Nutella then you are simply missing out. We make an awesome Bacio with our own house-made candied hazelnuts blended in. And finally Gianduja which is our own blend of hazelnut and milk chocolate.

Humans have been roasting and eating hazelnuts since the Mesolithic Era. That goes back almost 10,000 year! Clearly they are amazingly tasty to have kept our interest for ten milenia. They are edible both roasted and raw. Historians believe they were roasted to allow young children to digest them better and also to preserve them. They were frequently brought with mariners on long trips because they would remain edible for quite some time after roasted.

The worlds top producer of hazelnuts is Turkey by an absolute landslide! They produce about 75% of the worlds hazelnuts. In North America Oregon is the winner for top producer with around 18,000 tonnes a year. (Washington state only produces about 91 tonnes a year.)

Hazelnuts are generally harvested in Autumn when they naturally fall from their branches. It is fairly uncommon for harvesters to use mechanical nut-shakers to remove them from their trees. Harvesting is done rather slowly with a dragged trailer that collects and separated nuts from other fallen debris such as leaves and branches.

Recently Italian researchers have taken interest in the branches and leaves gathered with harvested nuts for use in cancer treatment. They contain taxanes which are used in chemotherapy treatments. Generally the shells, leaves, and branches are considered waste materials and simply discarded so the presence of these chemicals makes them interesting to doctors and researchers looking for more sources of treatment.

All in all hazelnuts are a superfood loaded with nutrients, vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and other chemicals which are highly desirable in a regular diet.

What more can you ask for from a delicious cup of gelato?!

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