Spargel: It's What's for Dinner in Germany. But What is It?
There's a food revolution happening right now in Germany, and although it is almost over with the beginning of summer, the good news is that it returns every year with the ripening of German asparagus, called Spargel. This revolution sees Germans ditch the sausage and heavier entrees for a month of asparagus-focused meals, most popularly serving the white asparagus with hollandaise sauce and roasted potatoes.
Spargelzeit (Spargel time) is a return to fresh vegetables and pastoral charm, which remains true since the great bulk of Germany's asparagus supply comes right from the local farmers.
So what's the difference between white and green asparagus, and why all the fuss? Well, although it's true that the US is used to wimpy green stalks, the white stuff is like super-powered asparagus. Grown under dirt to stop it from photosynthesizing, white asparagus is stronger when raw and far more tender when cooked. It's like the difference between a sirloin steak and filet mignon. Plus, it holds up well on its own as an entree.
Everywhere you go, from late April until mid-June, you'll spy three varieties of asparagus peeking out at you from street market stalls and even kiosks in the train stations, as we saw the picture above. Try the white, or the regular green, or the purple. They are all very good and very prized, but white is where it's at. You'll even be able to grab a few souvenir asparagus-shaped chocolates from chocolatiers, like those pictured below.
Although Spargelzeit is almost at an end for 2010, now is the perfect time to start daydreaming about an asparagus feast in 2011, especially since booking trips to Europe are so much more affordable now with the Euro so low.
Do you love Spargel too? Let us know your favorite places for Spargel stories in the comments!
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[All photos: Jaunted]