The mouthwatering nocciolini of Patisserie Bonfante

The region of Piedmont is renowned for its hazelnuts. No surprise, then, that for centuries the people of Piedmont have been using hazelnuts to make some of the finest confections. Nocciolini are one such product. Their name is derived from the Italian word for hazelnut: nocciola.

Opened bags of nocciolini droplets from Pasticceria Bonfante

Nocciolini are first made in the early 1800s, when a local pâtissier from the town of Chivasso mixes and then bakes three simple ingredients: hazelnuts, sugar and egg white. The nocciolini from Chivasso are born. They are an instant hit among the locals. And let's be honest, who wouldn't love these tiny amaretti-style droplets?

When Luigi Bonfante takes over the patisserie in 1922 he plans to introduce the nocciolini to a wider audience. He comes up with the pink wrapped packaging that is still used today. Bonfante’s bright bags of nocciolini catch the eye of many, not least because of their mouthwayering contents.

Facade of a historic local pastry shop in northern Italy

Today, Pasticceria Bonfante continues to make the nocciolini that made it famous. It still does so on a small scale, from its pasty shop in Chivasso. It may be a small, local business, but Bonfante's nocciolini have conquered the hearts of many across northern Italy and beyond (not least ourselves...).

Images credit: The Hyper Localist and Pasticceria Bonfante