Only three ingredients are needed to make this traditional tiny amaretto-shaped cookies from Chivasso, a small town in the Canavese area, 13 minutes by train north of Turin.
|super tiny and delicious nocciolini di Chivasso|
Legend has it that around 1850, a Chivasso pastry chef invented these hazelnut meringue tiny cookies and called them noaset from the French noisettes or hazelnuts.
His son in law brought these tiny cookies to the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 and they were so successful that in 1904 he registered them as a trade mark. In 1911, he also presentd them to the Turin Interrnational (World's Fair) in Turin but they became really popular when the King Victor Emmanuel III of Savoy made them a royal cookie.
During the fascist period they took the Italian name of nocciolini or tiny hazelnuts and this is what you have to look for when you come over to Piedmont.
|the cathedral of Chivasso|
The traditional nocciolini are as big as a nail and come in a dome shape. Now you can also get an extra large version that is about 4cm/2in big.
They are traditionally made with Piedmont round and gentle hazelnuts, egg whites and sugar. As they are hazelnut based meringue cookies, very brittle and easy to eat, you can easily become addicted to them.
|Vintage Bonfante ad advertising the pink package wrapping nocciolini|
If you travel by train and you stop in Chivasso on your way to or from Milan, you must visit the Bonfante pastry and coffee shop. It is thanks to Mr Bonfante that nocciolini di Chivasso got popular all over Italy as they were and still are sold in their classic pink package. You'll love the 1920s atmosphere 😉
Recipe for 300gr - 2.3lb
- 80 gr - a full 1/2 cup unshelled hazelnuts (possibly from Piedmont)
- 2 eggs
- 200 gr/ 1 cup powder sugar
Heat oven at 130-150C / 266-300F
After toasting the hazelnuts in the oven at 180C/350F, grind them to meal and add them to the powder sugar.
Beat the egg whites till stiff and fold in the hazelnut and sugar mix.
Grease or line the cookie sheet with parchment paper and put the hazelnut meringue mix in a pastry bag.
Lay tiny dots, about 1 cm/ 1/4 in. wide and bake for about 30min.
|the mix should be as smooth as possible and the dots tiny|
One portion of nocciolini makes 100 gr/3.5oz contains about 500 Kcal.
Tradiotionally, nocciolini di Chivasso are served with zabajone, have a look at this recipe by Chef Silvia Baldini, it has Moscato 😋
Naturally, they also go like a wink and smile with Erbaluce di Caluso as it is the area wine and it comes in many variants, all DOCG or superior wine quality
But if you really want to get the royal vibe, throw a couple nocciolini in a flute of Alta Langa Rose'. This is a dessert bubbly wine with elegant vanilla hues that will give the nocciolini a royal twist 😎
Nocciolino di Chivasso is a sweet liqueur made by infusing hazelnuts in alcohol to extract their oils.
|needless to say that nocciolini go well with everything!|
This post is dedicated to our dear friend Valentina Torasso from Chivasso, a real wonder woman!