Supposedly Hazelnuts were one of the first trees to establish itself in Britain and the warmer parts of Europe after the ice age. They were introduced in mid 1800's into the U.S., in Oregon, where most of them are still grown. Hazelnut trees bloom and pollinate in mid-winter, will grow for the next few months and be ready to be harvested by late October.
For fullest flavor, roast and cool raw hazelnuts before chopping or grinding. They are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium and vitamin E. Hazelnuts themselves are delicious, plain, seasoned and toasted in savory or sweet dishes. But where they really outshine any other nut is in a chocolate or coffee combination: plain, chopped, toasted hazelnuts mixed with melted chocolate and dropped by teaspoons on to waxed paper or small fluted paper cups and left to cool. Couldn't be simpler and couldn't be better.
Hazelnut oil which is painstakingly made in very small batches of stoneground nuts is one of the sweetest and most delicate of oils. A small amount for dipping home made bread into, over salads, steamed vegetables or smoked salmon, it accents cold dishes with a sweet nutty taste, Hazelnut oil also has therapeutic uses: it has highly penetrating and skin softening qualities and is often used in aromatherapy blended with other ingredients.