Of the almost seven thousand hectares of hazelnut cultivated in the province of Cuneo, more than one third is in the Langhe, with record points in the Cortemili area, for a total production of almost 80 thousand quintals a year.
The variety present on the territory is the Tonda Gentile delle Langhe (belonging to the species Corylius Avellana), appreciated for the delicacy of its taste and also for the ease of calibration, the excellent peelability, the good yield to the shelled and the marked aptitude for preservability .
In fact, already in the last century the Torinese pastry chefs – first of all Michele Prochet – had discovered the organoleptic qualities of the hazelnut and had inserted it as an essential ingredient in that particular type of chocolate known as the gianduja.
Since then it has been a crescendo of consents and the demand for raw materials has pushed farmers, in the thirties, to implant the first hazel groves of a certain extent.
To protect the product – foreign competition is ruthless – a ministerial decree of December 2, 1993 intervened that recognized the Protected Geographical Indication with the name of Piedmont Hazelnut destined for the Tonda Gentile delle Langhe cultivar.
The hazel groves
The hazel groves extend in a hilly strip ranging from 250 to 700 meters and have mostly occupied marginal areas, unsuitable for viticulture.
If in Cortemilia and Alba the hazelnut has given life to small and medium industrial laboratories specialized in drying and shelling, the plants extend largely on the hills, almost all in the territory of the Alta Langa Mountain Community, which since 1975 has managed in Cravanzana a experimental company with the collaboration of the Department of Arboreous Cultures of the University of Turin.
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