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Avellanas are hazelnuts. And you know hazelnuts (or filberts as I used to call them). Tasty and creamy, nutty and a good addition to chocolate to make the delicious and transfat-rich Nutella.

And they look like this: (and by the way, I got them from one of my favorite tostadurías (el Mataquito) for semi-interesting nuts, like pumpkin seeds, and sometimes “european hazelnuts” and always brown sugar. Two locations, one on El Bosque Norte not far off Apoquindo, west side of the street, and one on Avda. Matta, at about altura 800 (this one is bigger).

And then then there’s the Chilean hazelnut. For one thing, it comes from a totally different plant. And therefore, it looks (and tastes) totally different. The Chilean hazelnut comes split, and toasted. It’s not quite as greasy as the European, breaks into pieces in your mouth (more like a soynut than a peanut), and has a greener flavor, almost bordering on toasted and grassy at the same time. The tree it grows on is actually an evergreen, so maybe it tastes a little like that. And it looks like this:

As you can see, they look totally different. Here’s a side-by-side:

The European hazelnut (which is what you think of when you think of hazelnuts, or avellanas, are the species Corylus avellana, whereas the Chilean ones are Gevuina avellana. At first, this led to great disappointment on my part, when people would offer me hazelnuts, and these, small, brittle, halved pretend hazelnuts would appear.

They’ve grown on me, like queso fresco (but never quesillo) that sort of solid ricotta of a cheese that shows up on vegetarian sandwiches sometimes, but unlike manjar or mil hojas “cake” (see, cardboard plus manjar (milk fudge, dulce de leche), sometimes with meringue on top) or even the maligned membrillo, which I cooked with water and sugar as I was instructed, and now I have a solid bowl of cooked membrillo with a spoon sticking out of it, which I will try to eat sometime with yogurt, but my friends, membrillo lovers all, I’m afraid I may not be woman enough to get it down.

So, surprises be darned, now I’ve got two little bags of nuts to munch on as the winter chill seeps into our houses. I wonder what food (or foodstuff) I’ll write about next.

Gratuitous final shot of the nuts in bags, so you can compare price per kilo, if you are so inclined: