Spargelzeit: Germans and their love affair with white asparagus

We’ve just returned from a lovely trip through Southern and Western Germany where we met charming people, enjoyed fine music and saw sensational art and architecture…..and white asparagus.  The Germans call it Spargelzeit, which means asparagus season, but I thinks a more apt name would be Frenzied Consumption and Worship of White Vegetable Season.

I want you people to know that I am not jaded about seasonal vegetables.  HOB and I shop at farmer’s markets and joyfully prepare and eat local produce.  Yet, I was unprepared for the markets, large and small,  each abundantly piled with white asparagus, diners crowding outdoor cafes downing plates of white asparagus, asparagus on the covers of magazines like supermodels, well, you get the idea.

Germans, please explain, why is all the asparagus white, and why the manic excitement over this particular vegetable?  Also, if you have a good white asparagus recipe, please share–I am eager to become a convert to the Spargelzeit.

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spargel

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5 comments

  1. The French go potty for white asparagus too…why, I don’t know as the green has so much more flavour…

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  2. I didn’t know that Helen–do the French also have a special word for Asparagus Season?

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  3. Not that I know of….

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  4. Spargel pricing is graded….freshly plucked is more expensive than a day old or so. Here’s make take, since my partner originally is from southern Germany and gave me all the insight on spargel.
    http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/cycling-for-spargel-kirsch-and-blue-painted-bikes-black-forest-region-germany-june-3-11-2010/

    You can serve it with a hollandaise or white wine sauce over steamed spargel.

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    1. Thank you Jean. I enjoyed your post on cycling for spargel. You are lucky to have a German partner to explain the serious spargel business to you. Now I understand a little more what all the different prices were…

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