31 July 2012

La noisette et le noisetier

In French a "nut" is a walnut, and the word is noix, pronounced [NWAH]. It's a feminine noun, so you say la noix or une noix. The town across the river from Saint-Aignan is called Noyers [nwah-YAY], which means "walnut trees".

There aren't any walnuts on the tree out in the vineyard where we usually see them at this time of year. In autumn, Callie loves to find them on the ground, crack them open in her mouth, spit out the shells, and eat the nut meat. She'll be disappointed this year. Blame weird weather for the barren nut tree this summer.

An immature hazelnut or noisette

There are, however, not many dozens of steps away, some trees/bushes that are covered in "little nuts" ("nutlets"?) or noisettes [nwah-ZEHT], which we call hazelnuts in the U.S., or filberts. In England, they can be called "cobnuts" — but I didn't know that term until I read it a minute ago. In France, the tree — or is it a shrub? — is called a noisetier [nwahz-TYAY] — two syllables — and it's a masculine word like noyer.

The noisetier can also be called a coudrier [koo-dree-AY], and a grove of hazelnut trees is called a coudraie [koo-DRAY], feminine, in France. La Coudraie is the name of a little hamlet in our village, about a kilometer from our own hamlet, and it's a place name that you see frequently around here. Worldwide, the biggest producer of hazelnuts is Turkey (75% of the world's crop). In North America, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia are big hazelnut producers.


  1. Ken... "hazelnuts is hazelnuts and cobnuts is cobnuts"... the cobnut was developed from a 'sport' of the hazel and has to be reproduced by digging the runners up.
    The cobnut is longer and fatter than a wild hazelnut and has a much larger fruit / kernel inside.
    We have two varieties here, the original Kentish Cobb and a German sport that I call the Rheisen-Heissen-Sluschen-Knuss [because I can never remember the real name... Pauline does remember it... easily!] So far we've had a few nuts from them... Jay and squirrel raids have had the rest....
    Ah well!
    Tim on Pauline's machine.

    WV is good... wild bo 13

  2. You know what they say in French: Ah que c'est beau de savoir quelque chose !

  3. I love hazelnuts and my favorite Hungarian cake is toasted hazelnut torte.

  4. Kristi, I love hazelnuts too, and we have 8 or 10 trees out back. As Tim said, birds and squirrels get most of them, and most of the nuts have "worms" in them. Too bad.

  5. Whenever we hit Austria, it's all Hazelnuts. From my favorite Manner Schnitten to Crepes with ground Hazelnuts, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
    Savory Ravioli filled with Hazelnuts, the best.

    I think the Turks did not only bring coffee to Vienna but also the Hazelnut.

    We already detected a couple of bushes along the river which we plan on raiding soon....

  6. Love hazelnuts in milk chocolate-have never seen a tree, but should have checked yours out when I had the chance.

  7. I don't believe that I ever had a hazelnut before going to France, but right after getting back to the U.S. that year, I made a hazelnut cake (I recall that it had poudre de noisettes mixed in with the flour and also sprinkled around the icing.) It was yummy :)


  8. Used to love chocolate with hazelnuts in Europe. Then I got lucky one day and found a place here that sells the ones from Germany.


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