Cascina Palazzo: two words that seem to clash.
It sounds like something out of the imagination of a theatrical set designer: a 17th century mansion suddenly appearing in the hills of the Alta Langa.
It is a completely different building from the typical architecture of the traditional farmhouses of the Langa, because it was built as a country residence for a noble family of Turin.
Let’s imagine them, the baroque aristocrats of Turin, powdered and bewigged, climbing into a carriage in the courtyard of their city palace, after the servants had loaded the trunks, and setting off for the then wild lands of the Alta Langa.
It is time for festivities, dancing, hunting, that short period of carefree holidays that the Savoy aristocracy allowed itself between business and war.
In 1915 my great-grandfather Luigi bought the palace from a descendant of the noble family of Turin and converted it into a farmhouse.
The spirit of the place changed immediately: no more parties and holidays, but the hard work of the countryside.
He immediately planted 300 hazelnut trees, locating them on the sunniest slopes of the land.
At the beginning, the activity of the farmhouse included the raising of working oxen, the animals most used in the agricultural life of the time. As machines and tractors began to take over, the breeding of oxen was limited, leaving more and more room for hazelnuts.
So my grandfather Alberto, then my father Angelo constantly expanded the area given over to hazelnuts.
For those born in a farmhouse in the Alta Langa, hazelnuts are life-time companions from early childhood, first as trees to climb, then in the form of a hazelnut cake snack made by granny.
This was my childhood: I would go to the hazelnut grove with my father, who would tell me stories and pass on his knowledge about how to work and prepare the ground, how to prune the branches, how to control insects.
Now it’s my turn. Together with my father Angelo, my mother Rosalia, my wife Elisa, and my children Mattia and Andrea who I’m teaching to love and look after the hazelnuts.
Like all my family before me, I wanted to add a personal touch to Cascina Palazzo: so I decided to add toasting and processing to the growing and harvesting of hazelnuts. To obtain the cream, the paste, the grain, the flour. All homemade. By us. With our own hazelnuts.