Macadamias are native to north eastern Australia, but also grown extensively in Hawaii.
The pale beige nut has an extraordinarily hard thick brown shell that can do more damaged to a nutcracker than the nutcracker can do to it, so macadamias tend to be sold already shelled.
As a pricey, luxury food, they are primarily eaten raw or salted and served as a cocktail snack, but their creamy, waxy texture is increasingly appreciated in cooking, especially sweet baking. Macadamias also produce high quality oils and nut butters.
When finely crushed macadamias are a good crumb coating for chicken and fish. They can be used in desserts and biscuits and match particularly well with caramel, white chocolate, pineapple and ice cream. Macadamias can also be used in place of pecans in pecan pie, and as a substitute for exotic candlenuts in Indonesian cooking.