Archaeologists have found evidence of the hazelnut in Great Britain some 9,000 years ago. It goes back well before the Norman Conquest. So it is no surprise that the word hazelnut is one of the oldest words in the English language. The first time a hazelnut was mentioned was back in the beginning of the 700s.
Now Great Britain is an also-ran for hazelnut production. It is Turkey which produces approximately 75% of global production, followed by Italy with approximately 10%.
In Great Britain the large number of hazelnuts found in locals communities suggests that there could have been whole villages which were largely vegetarian. Today the hazelnut is often used in confectionary and cakes. The most famous product using the hazelnut is Nutella. The product is celebrating its 50th birthday and has become so famous that in Italy, its country of origin, there was a commemorative stamp this year. In addition to sugar and palm oil, there are 50 hazelnuts in each jar!
The hazelnut is rich is oil and Vitamin E and eating it is recommended for providing protection against cancer and heart diseases. It is also considered to have some properties as an aphrodisiac. This is probably why dancing around the hazelnut tree was considered good for love. Obviously the ancient Britons were on to a good thing.