Some have speculated that in America we do not have the tradition of all of the fancy dessert s you may find in Europe, i.e., we like drop cookies, pies, simple layer cakes, whereas in Europe tortes, napoleons and other flaky pastries are a favorite.
Some believe that by the time Americans get the hazelnuts they are rancid and stale, so we are not really aware of how good a fresh hazelnut is. The largest producer of Hazelnuts is Turkey (about 95% of the world’s production) and here in the US Oregon is one of the largest (but still small) growing areas for Hazelnuts. Some say because they are so hard to shell.
I hope that here in the US hazelnuts become more popular. Hazelnuts have a lot of good stuff in them. Hazelnuts are used in confectionery to make things like praline, truffles, Nutella, Frangelico liqueur. The oil from the Hazelnut is strongly flavored and is used for cooking. They are rich in protein; contain a significant amount of B6, thiamine and a small about of other b vitamins.
QUICK History of how hazelnuts became popular (according to mentalfloss.com):
In European History, when Napoleon tried to freeze out British commerce and during WWII, chocolate became very expensive and hard to come by, so they used the hazelnut to stretch out the chocolate they had. Eventually, what they made was also turned into Nutella, a very popular spread, still today all over the world!