Hazelnuts grow wild throughout the Italian peninsula, but certain varieties are also actively cultivated in Campania, Liguria, Piedmont, and Sicily. The hazelnut kernel can be eaten fresh, used in baked goods, or ground for use in (gluten-free) nut flours. Like almonds and walnuts, hazelnuts are often used in confections and liqueurs. But the hazelnut likely best known as a chocolate pairing.
Hazelnuts are rich in vitamins (particularly vitamin E) as well as dietary fiber. Like almonds, they are also gluten-free. Carbon dating of hazelnut remains leads scientists to conclude that hazelnuts grew in Europe as early 7000 BCE.
At Babbo, we use hazelnuts in confections as well as savory pastas, like this.