The “postcard” panorama of the Langhe shows vineyards, hills and farms balancing on steep slopes. But the exuberant colours of these places wouldn’t be the same, especially in the Alta Langa, without the huge hazelnut groves. And without their fruit, neither the gastronomy nor the confectionary tradition of this land would be the same.
Here, in the Langa, the most prestigious variety of hazelnuts is called “tonda gentile del Piemonte”, and has been recognized with the Indication of Protected Geography (IGP). The cultivation of the hazelnuts, which has progressively taken the place of that of the chestnuts, is already a part of the economic fabric of the Langhe: the credit for having experimented with and then having propagated the plant goes to Professor Emanuele Ferraris, who demonstrated the highest productivity (up to four hundred kilograms of dried hazelnuts pro 3,810 square metres) and the greatest resistance of the plants to organic and parasitic infection in respect to the vines.
Hazelnuts can be consumed fresh, just harvested, conserved for the winter as dried fruit or roasted in an industrial process. Shelled and whole roasted, in large pieces or grinded to a paste they are used in the preparation of Torroni, hazelnut chocolate, croccanti, ice cream and in the famous “Gianduiotti” a type of Piedmontese chocolate.