Macadamia nuts

Noce di Macadamia | Flick on Food

Try toasted macademia nuts plain or covered in chocolate.


Macadamia nuts are the fruit of the Macadamia integrifolia tree, an Australian evergreen. Originally from the rainforests of northeast Australia, Macadamia nuts were discovered about 500 years ago by the aboriginal populations living on the continent and were a traditional part of their diet. They were later identified and studied by 2 English botanists– John McAdam in particular– who found them in Queensland in 1858. It is from this scientist that name of the nut derives. They are now cultivated beyond just their country of origin, in places such as the United States, Guatemala, South Africa and Israel, as well as some limited numbers in Italy. There are 2 species of macadamia cultivated (of the Proteaceae family): the integrifolia, which is grown in tropical countries, and the tetraphylla, which is suited for subtropical and temperate climates. The major producers of macadamia nuts are Hawaii, California and Bolivia.

Cook it

Macadamia nuts can be enjoyed raw or toasted, but they really shine when paired with honey or chocolate. The chef Alessandro Borghese also used them to put a new spin on pesto. Macadamias are sweet and delicate, with a flavor resembling coconut. This makes them a great accompaniment for meat dishes or to enhance a summer salad. Unfortunately, since they’re high in calories, they should be eaten in moderation, but their long list of health benefits mean they’re worth it. In areas where they’re grown, they’re often prepared with butter or served plain with a pinch of salt.

Did you know

It’s best to buy already shelled macadamias since the shell is particularly tough and hard to remove, especially without breaking the nut as well. They are a true superfood so rich in health benefits that they’ve been the subject of scientific studies. Not only are they said to help combat free radicals and bad cholesterol, but they are rich in palmitoleic acid which has a positive effect on metabolism. The fact that they’re a concentrated source of calories and energy means they are an ideal food for athletes. However, it’s important to note that while they’re hugely beneficial for humans, they’re toxic for animals. Their nut also produces an oil that is widely used both in cooking and in cosmetics.