In Norse Mythology, the Goddess Idun was turned into a hazelnut by the mischievous God, Loki. Idun was the wife of Bragi and brought about the renewal of life in the spring. Her power was held within the golden apples of everlasting youth, coveted by the Gods.
Idun’s fate as a hazelnut was not an act of treachery, rather the result of a rescue mission. Granted, Loki was responsible for her imprisonment by a giant. Without Idun’s golden apples, the Gods were subject to the sufferings of old age and mortality. So, upon the order of Odin, the all Father, Idun was transformed into a hazelnut, where she and her precious box of apples were smuggled out of the giant’s keep.
Thence, the hazelnut became a suitable representation of youth and longevity. It’s smooth and buttery flavour marries well with the cocoa bean and there is a perfection in its small round shape.
When blended to form a paste, combined with cocoa and sugar, the resultant concoction is delicious enough to acquire the status as food of the Gods.
Now, for the latte……that is a tale for another day.