Our three farms that make up "Terra delle Nocciole" are located in the small village of Cravanzana in the heart of the Alta Langa. Our average production is 70 tonnes of hazelnuts in shell per year, harvested from our own 30 hectares of hazelnut groves.
The characteristics of our territory that allow the Nocciolo to reach high quality standards are:
- Altitude. The altitude of the territory of Cravanzana varies between 500 and 600 meters above sea level. The climate at this altitude is almost never subject to hot summers but rather mild during the day and cool at night, allowing the fruit to ripen slowly and gradually instead of forcibly.
- Influence of the "marine". As the crow flies, Cravanzana is just a few kilometres from the sea. This proximity allows the passage of the wind from the sea commonly called by locals "Marino" that carries with it mineral salts that are absorbed by the plant and yielded to the fruit. A mix of minerals that are probably the main reason for obtaining a Supreme Hazelnut.
Cravanzana and its territory are therefore able to donate unique properties to the product, but this unfortunately penalises its production. In fact, as ours is a hilly crop, besides being difficult to cultivate due to the sloping terrain, there is no possibility of using irrigation techniques that would allow greater production (which would also affect its quality). Our average production is in fact about 20-24 quintals per hectare compared to 30-35 quintals in flat areas where irrigation is possible. We gladly accept this limitation in the knowledge that we owe this to the high quality of the product, which is our main objective.
We do just that, based on the teachings of our parents and grandparents.
We carry out the basic operations cyclically every year so that our hazelnuts can give us the best possible product. The operations are different and each has its own importance; they are all fundamental and all must be done within the times dictated by Mother Nature.
The season starts in October immediately after the end of the harvest and lasts throughout the winter. During this period pruning is carried out, which takes place only and exclusively by hand in order to eliminate dry branches, sick branches (affected by Agrilo) and excess branches that suffocate others, preventing the passage of the sun's rays. It is important to remove the diseased branches because the following year they would produce wrinkled hazelnuts and reduce the overall quality of the harvest. We have chosen manual pruning which, although slower and more tiring, allows you to carry out ad hoc pruning on each individual plant (something that cannot be done with pruning performed with automatic machines).
In autumn, the soil is "broken" so that the rains, snow and fertilizers, suitably dosed, can penetrate the soil and thus reach the roots more easily. The tillage of the soil also serves to tear the old roots so that the plant regenerates new ones more capable of absorbing nutrition for the plant and the fruits.
In the spring the main work is the elimination of suckers at the base of the plant. It is important to eliminate them so that the plant concentrates all its resources on the production of the fruit. The suckers are also removed manually. Also in spring, treatments are carried out with plant protection products to eliminate harmful insects such as bugs and balusters.
In June and July, on the other hand, the soil is cleaned to prepare it for the harvesting phase, which takes place in August and September. Harvesting takes place mechanically when the product has fallen from the tree and is on the ground. We do not harvest the product while it is still on the trees because this would cause the development of aflatoxins, harmful to the human organism, which we find in high quantities in the production of Turkish hazelnuts. Since the difference in time between the fall of the first hazelnuts and the last one is about 20 days, we harvest the product of the same field twice in order to avoid that the hazelnuts that fall first remain too long in contact with the ground, risking compromising the drying process and therefore the final quality.
The first stage immediately after harvesting is drying. Terra delle Nocciole uses only and exclusively the natural method of doing this by exposing it to the sun. We are convinced that natural and traditional methods, even if slower and more tiring, are the best. For this reason, after harvesting, the hazelnuts are cleaned to remove most of the foreign bodies (residual leaves, twigs, etc. ...) and put to dry for 2-3 days in the sun. Once they have reached the ideal degree of drying, they are cleaned and sorted, ready to be shelled.
Hazelnuts have different sizes and therefore, in order to be able to shell them without damaging the internal fruit, they must be sorted by size. After calibration they are shelled and recalibrated again. The second calibration, which takes place on the shelled product, is fundamental for the subsequent roasting phase. It is very important that the fruit in the toaster is loaded with the same size so that it can be toasted evenly, avoiding burns.
Terra delle Nocciole has developed an INNOVATIVE MACHINE with a mechanical company, which first of all allows the hazelnut paste to be extracted using a continuous (instead of cyclical) method.
This innovative system allows us not to "stress" the product to preserve its great characteristics (the time that elapses between the loading of the hazelnuts and their transformation into paste is just under 2 minutes).
Continuous extraction also allows us to obtain a temperature difference (∆T) between the incoming and outgoing product not exceeding 15°C. This factor is very important because the oil contained in the hazelnut has already been heated during the roasting stage and heating it again would damage the quality of the finished product. Our system also does not release any type of metal residue in the product, thus avoiding possible allergies to nickel or other metal substances (in ball refiners, over time they wear out and release residues into the product).
Another peculiarity of our pasta that differentiates us from the others is the process of oil separation. A major problem for end users who buy large quantities of pasta and use it gradually throughout the season is the mixing of the laminated oil with the solid part. Leaving the dough stationary in stock, in fact, the solid part tends to decant and the oil remains on the surface. The mixing operation is very difficult, especially in large quantities. Thanks to the innovative type of extraction of our machine we obtain a paste in which, unlike the refined ones, the process of oil separation is much slower. This is a feature that we only learned when we started production. Precise data on layering times could be provided in the future but we noticed that after 2 months the oil layer is only a few millimeters.
During the extraction of the dough we use toasted peeled hazelnuts and toasted hazelnuts with residues of peel in a percentage of about 2-3% in order to give a more intense taste to our dough.
Our Hazelnut boasts the brand PGI Piedmont which, among other things, was also subjected to a sensory analysis carried out by the Brescia Tasters Research Centre, where it was compared with other types of hazelnuts from Lazio and Turkey. This analysis shows that the Piedmont Hazelnut has a more complex sensory profile and is free of defects than the other comparison samples. Moreover, this profile is even more characteristic of derivative products than of the raw material.
But that is not all. It is important to understand how the hazelnut produced by us, even though it is a Piedmont PGI (and therefore already recognised as the best), has clearly superior characteristics compared to the hazelnut cultivated in other areas of Piedmont thanks to our geographical position. By combining a quality raw material with innovative processing methods, Terra delle Nocciole is able to supply a unique product aimed solely and exclusively at "greedy" quality purchasers.
Piedmont Hazelnuts PGI from Alta Langa - Roasted 250g
Terra delle Nocciole
Nocciole Piemonte IGP Alta Langa Tostate Confezione da 250gr
Piedmont Hazelnuts PGI from Alta Langa - Finely chopped 250g
Terra delle Nocciole
Nocciole Piemonte IGP Alta Langa Granella Confezione da 250gr
Piedmont Hazelnuts PGI from Alta Langa - Flour 250g
Terra delle Nocciole
Nocciole Piemonte IGP Alta Langa Farina Confezione da 250gr
Pure Hazelnut Spread PGI from Alta Langa - 200g
Terra delle Nocciole
A truly astonishing hazelnut spread: there are no better words to describe it. Every time we open a jar of this spread, an indescribable scent fills the air and on the palate it is intense and velvety at the same time. We are in Cravanzana, a village in the area of Alta Langa, Piedmont. Here the farm called Terra delle Nocciole cultivates these incredible little gems, always respecting nature’s laws and with no forcing involved. Indeed, the perfect moment to pick hazelnuts is when they fall off the tree. As a matter of fact, if they are picked directly from the tree, like many foreign producers actually do, they contain levels of aflatoxin that may be harmful to humans. After being picked, hazelnuts are left to naturally sun-dry for a couple of days. Once shelled and roasted, they finally become a pure spread of hazelnuts from Piedmont PGI, ideal for cakes or any other recipe. The reason behind the high quality of this spread lies in the project of the company Terra delle Nocciole. They developed an innovative machine for paste extraction, which is different than anything else on the market, since it doesn’t “stress” hazelnuts out and preserves their sensory qualities as much as possible. The paste is continually extracted without any big temperature change and without releasing nickel or any other allergenic metal substance. This delicate extraction process also delays the natural separation of solid parts from oil, thus facilitating consumption. We like to spread it on: Crepes Chocolate cake