5 - THE HAZEL WOOD
In our hazelnut grove we produce the PGI Piedmont Hazelnut, which is the officially recognized and protected denomination of the fruit obtained from the Tonda Gentile Trilobata hazelnut “cultivar”. It is a typical production of the hilly areas in southern Piedmont, which integrates well with the other traditional production of our territories, the vine. The history of hazelnut cultivation in Piedmont began with the economic blockade ordered by Napoleon for the products of the British Empire and its colonies (1806). The Turin master pastry chefs therefore began to mix the increasingly rare and precious cocoa with the cheaper hazelnuts, roasted and finely ground. Thus in 1852 the gianduia (a mixture of cocoa and hazelnuts) was officially born. The cultivation of the hazelnut spread further starting from 1930 after a Piedmontese agronomist demonstrated how the hazelnut tree was durable, resistant to parasites and with high productivity. Today Montalbera holds about 35 hectares dedicated to this prestigious crop.