You can’t get blood from a turnip (or a stone for that matter), but you can get milk from a hazelnut. Sweet, smooth, creamy, and flavorful milk.
I don’t know how they do it. Milking a hazelnut challenges everything I thought I knew about milk. To get milk, you need:
- An utter.
- A teet.
- A nipple.
Hazelnuts have none of these. Trust me. I checked and rechecked. The wizards at Elmhurst know the secret to milking all sorts of nuts, though.
Until now, the concept of nut milk never appealed to me. I’m tolerant of most things, lactose included, so my biggest milk decision is blue cap or red, chocolate or white.
Life changed at an event for OpenStreetsPGH when I came across a milk truck offering mocktails. I’m not much for mockery, but I love a free drink, and I was surprised by the selection. Beyond the boring and ordinary almond and cashew milk that the lovely lady that lives in my house enjoys, the Elmhurst Nut Milk Truck offered walnut and hazelnut milk.
My brain works like this: hazelnuts make Nutella and Nutella makes my brain release an excess of neurotransmitters. Simplified: Nutella is great. Hazelnuts must be good. The science of my brain held true, hazelnut milk was awesome. I couldn’t wait to get more.
But like all great stories, there is some conflict. Although the gents manning the milk truck said the products were available in all local Giant Eagle stores, none was around. I walked into my store full of optimism and unwavering confidence, found the dairy staff, asked for hazelnut milk, endured the judgy looks, and walked back out through the doors with my head held low. I couldn’t find it. Believe me, I tried. Even Elmhurst’s own product locator led me astray several times.
Despite the detrimental impact on my physical and mental health, relationships, and overall well-being, I had to get that milk. I needed that milk.
Finally, I got that milk in the Market District in Waterworks along Rt. 28. If you’re not in the know, this is the Rolls Royce of Giant Eagles. I raced home to mix up a huge glass of Elmhurst Hazelnut milk with some Hershey’s Simply 5. It would be my finest creation yet. Sorry, kids.
Sadly, the first sip was a bit jarring. This stuff is sweet – like melt your teeth sweet. A quick calorie count on the back of the carton (140 calories for 8 oz.) made it clear that this stuff is no skim milk equivalent. I was initially both excited that I could recognize everything on the carton’s ingredient list, and disappointed by the amount of cane sugar. I had some hazelnuts to drink. How? I had to regroup and get creative.
I had to think of Elmhurst’s Hazelnut milk as cream instead of milk. You don’t wanna wet your raisin bran with it, but you can put it in your coffee. You can add it to thicken and sweeten your chocolate milk. You can … okay I only have those two ideas, but the hazelnut milk is excellent in these tasks. So excellent, you’ll experience a smooth hazelnut high. So good in fact, that I now prefer to have some on hand at all times. Since a few oz. will get the job done, the carton goes a long way, which makes the $5.99 sticker shock slightly more manageable.
At the time of writing, Elmhurst plans to release unsweetened almond and hazelnut varieties in 2018, along with milked oats and brown rice. If the unsweetened hazelnut can maintain the same flavor with lower sweetness, Elmhurst will surely have a hit. For now,
Consume.Review.Repeat. gives Elmhurst Hazelnut Milk 9.3 hazelnut highs out of 10.