A DELICACY FROM THE LAND EAST OF GREECELa Morella Nuts cultivates its delicious hazelnuts in Tarragona,
a province in the northeast of Spain.But the hazel tree has its origins in Turkey.
It was presumably brought to Spain by the Greeks, who founded several colonies
(or apoikia) on the Spanish mainland during Classical Antiquity.
The Greeks discovered hazelnuts when they colonized Turkey
and immediately fell in love with their exceptional taste.
Interesting fact: The Greeks baptized the Turkish region they colonized
Anatolia, which is derived from the Greek word for 'sunrise'.The sun rises in
the east,so they presumably came up with the name to indicate that the region
lies east of Greece
THE GREAT PHYLLOXERA CRISIS:
Winemaking was an importance source of income for the Spaniards in the 1800s.
A BLESSING FOR HAZELNUT CULTIVATION
But during the second half of the 19th century the phylloxera crisis hit the Tarragonan viticutlure hard.Whole vineyards got infected and countless farmers lost their livelihood.
Luckily,an emergency farmer gathering in Reus gave rise to a brilliant idea to cope with the crisis:the farmers replaced their vineyards with hazelnut orchards.
This way they had a new profitable source of income and at the same curbed the spread of phylloxera in Tarragona.
Today, Reus has grown out to be the center of all hazelnut production in Tarragona, which in turn accounts for 88% of Spain's nationalhazelnut production total.
The fruitful la morella windsLa morella is the name of the fruitful southern wind that blows through our
beautiful hazelnut orchards. It is named after the highest hill in the Garraf
massif and plays the part of Cupid during the pollination seasin in mid-winter:
the wind brushes past male flowers (called catkins) and transfers their pollen to
the stigma of small red female flowers. Those eventually develop delicious
hazelnuts during summer, which we pick with the utmost care and speed to
preserve their exceptional quality and flavor.
DELICIOUSLY HEALTHYScientific research shows that the consumption of hazelnuts reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and significantly reduces bad cholesterol levels.* Hazelnuts are packed with monounsaturated fats that reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and increase the level of good cholesterol (HDL) in the bloodstream.Hazelnuts are also a great source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress, which plays a significant role in the development of cardiovascular diseases and cancers. So, not only are hazelnuts incredibly delicious, they are super healthy as well.
*The positive health effects of hazelnut consumption are promoted by the Dept d'Agricultura, Ramaderia i Pesca de Ia Generalitat de Catalunya, the Consell Comarcal del Baix Camp and the Fundaci6n Juan Abell6.
NATIONAL PRIDE THAT PLEASES THE BELLYSpanish hazelnuts are popular around the globe.
But the most avid hazelnut consumers may even be the Spanish themselves.
A great portion of the national hazelnut production is destined
for the preparation of turrón, which is nougat-like confectionery
that's typically consumed around Christmas time.
Another traditionalrecipe that's immensely popular in the
Spanish Tarragona region is called romesco.
Romesco is a delicious sauce based on hazelnuts, almonds,
tomatoes and red pepper and is typically served with fish,
seafood or vegetables.
During traditional springtime barbecues called calçotades,
romesco is served as an accompanying dip for calçots, a spring onion typically found in Catalonia.
Interested in organizing your own calc;otada? Try this great romesco recipe.
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1 Sweet red pepper "Nyora"
1 slice of toasted bread
100 gr of almonds
50 gr of hazelnuts
Roast the tomatoes and the cloves of garlic over charcoal-fire. Once roasted peel the tomatoes.
In a bowlmash the tomatoes, with the garlic, the slice of bread and the
nuts. Once all these dry ingredients are grinded, remove the flesh of the sweet pepper and add it
to the bowl. Use an electric mixer to unify the ingredients. When everything is blended,add vinegar
and oil. To finish up the sauce add a pinch of salt and pepper. Season to taste and you'II get a
yummy Romesco sauce!