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28 February 2010

Let me introduce you to: the hazelnut!

I grew up with hazelnuts. I remember the times as kids when my sister and I would slave away, pounding at them with hammers on the back porch, all so we could have a bowl full of them on the counter, instead of M&M's. They're healthier, or something.

But as it is -- we Oregonians produce a lot of hazelnuts. Minus the child labor. ;) After the hazelnuts are harvested, you can eat them. Hazelnuts can be roasted, toasted, baked, chopped, crunched, munched, ground, sweetened, fermented, gobbled, scarfed, smothered with chocolate, and devoured.

Did you know that Oregon is one of the largest producers of hazelnuts
in the world? It's just ahead of our neighbor, Washington, and second only to Turkey!

Here's what we do with them: Nutella, Hazelnut torte, hazelnut banana bread, hazelnut loaf, praline, hazelnut butter, hazelnut mochas, hazelnut oil, hazelnut gelato, biscotti, martinis, and much, much more!

Here are some PDX places that feature hazelnuts: Pix Patisserie (torte), Two Tarts Bakery, Lovejoy Bakers, Little Red Bike Cafe, 23Hoyt, Beast Restaurant, Nel Centro, Accanto (hazelnut-encrusted duck), and Tina's Restaurant (salmon spring rolls with spicy hazelnut sauce)! That last one's in Dundee -- decide if it's worth it!


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