You can find them all over Umbria and it is a great addition to any meat stew, especially wildboar. Here in Umbria it is also used with eel from Lake Trasimeno roasted over an open fire. Sometimes some wood of the trees is added to a fire above which meats are roasted to give it a nice laurel smoke. Now and then I like to pop a leaf in my mouth (and no they are not poisonous).
The berries can be used to. They are the origin of the word baccalaureate, yes that litteraly means laurel berry. There is a nice story about Apollo chasing Daphne who is not interested in him, being changed into a laurel tree by Gaia. This saddens Apollo very much and he weaves a wreath from the branches of the tree. In honour of Apollo victors and laureates are still given a wreath of bay leaves these days.