OF SICILY GELATO SUMMIT
Everyone appreciates the goodness of hazelnuts and everyone knows that in Italy hazelnuts are produced in Piedmont, where they have been able to exploit this resource, to the point of being able to create from hazelnuts the most famous and sold spreadable cream in the world. Few, however, are aware that Sicily is among the top four Italian regions for hazelnut groves with its 12 thousand hectares, most of which are in the Nebrodi. An environmental and landscape heritage of extraordinary beauty and a centuries-old tradition, that of growing, harvesting and processing hazelnuts, thanks to which every year are obtained high quality raw materials and typical sweets of considerable delicacy. On the contrary, however, of what happened for the Piedmontese hazelnut, the Sicilian one is not appreciated as it should be, although it has organoleptic and nutritional characteristics recognized and appreciated by many people, experts and not. A fruit that tells, moreover, of a tradition that goes beyond the purely culinary dimension, embracing the history and economy of its territory of origin. At the end of the 1800s, in fact, there was an agricultural crisis that put in danger the lives of farmers who counted on the products of the land to feed them. The hazelnuts were able, however, to resist the territorial and climatic difficulties by continuing to give their fruits. Thus, since 1890 the Sicilian farmers of the area received the Nebrodi hazelnuts as a true "gift of nature". Today the Italian production of hazelnuts is 10% covered by the Sicilian one. This year finally an excellent year, probably determined by biological factors such as the heat and the voluntary departure of dormice caused by the low productivity of hazelnut groves. The hazelnut is an extraordinary fruit in terms of nutrition. It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamins E (antioxidant par excellence), k and minerals (such as potassium, calcium and phosphorus). What's more, in Sicily we have the Nebrodi hazelnut, a variety of hazelnut which has been granted a transitional protection, pending the final mark of protected origin: DOP.