In Dining

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Hazelnuts everywhere! (Including in an amazing kringle)

It's time for Dining Month, presented by Deer District and its spooky Halloween-themed alter ego, Fear District. Throughout the month of October, we'll be serving up fun and fascinating content about all things food. The signature dish, however, is our 2019 Best of Dining poll, who's winners we will dish out all month long. Get hungry, Milwaukee!

As a longtime fan of the hazelnut – when I bought my house nearly 20 years ago, one of the first things I did was plant a hazelnut bush in the backyard – I'm excited to finally find this tasty nugget represented in more foods than ever.

Hazelnuts are sweet and nutrient-rich, with lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Plus, they play extremely nicely with chocolate.

Of course, hazelnuts – a version of which is native to Wisconsin – have long been on the shelves here in Nutella and in some form or another in flavored coffees (that's where I draw the line).

But, lately, I seem to find them in more and more places, even if Blue Diamond appears to have ceased production on its hazelnut Nut Thins crackers.

In just this one week alone – in fact in just four straight days – I found these, without even really looking ...

On Thursday, at a spur of the moment early morning stop at Cranky Al's in East Tosa, I came across this filled donut stuffed full of Nutella and sprinkled with sugar. If you like Nutella, this is exactly as amazing as you'd expect it to be.

On Friday, the fine folks at Racine's O&H Bakery, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this month, brought me a chocolate hazelnut kringle to try.

This insanely delectable delight has flaky kringle stuffed with a dark, nutty filling, slathered with a chocolate hazelnut frosting and then sprinkled with little chunks of chocolate and chopped hazelnuts.

It is absolutely heavenly for us hazelnut fiends.

On Saturday, on a trip to Chicago, I stopped in at The Dearborn Tavern in the Loop, where the dessert menu featured something called a banana hazelnut crunch cake.

This multi-tiered cake was covered in chocolate and hazelnuts and topped with a scoop of hazelnut ice cream, drizzled with chocolate and dusted with hazelnut powder. On the side were two slices of candied banana and a cup of malted milk jam to drizzle over the top of the entire thing.

Unspeakably rich and delicious but don't make the mistake I did. Two of us each ordered our own. This is for sharing.

On Sunday, as we're known to do, we made a stop at the Nutella Cafe on Michigan Avenue for banana Nutella crepes, which we used to get at Eataly. Fortunately – and perhaps not coincidentally – when Eataly stopped making these, the Nutella Cafe arrived to fill the gap.

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