May 20 2004
Much as I love asparagus, I've never understood the German fetish for white asparagus. Last year, during DeveloperWorks live in Munich, the Marriott hotel was having an asparagus-fest that featured a dozen different spear-based main dishes. Anyway, after reading today's New York Times, I think I'm starting to understand. I'll stick to the green variety myself -- more vitamins.
For about two months -- from late April until June 24, the feast of St. John the Baptist -- Berliners go bonkers over asparagus, especially the white asparagus grown in the sandy soil around this modest market town 30 miles southwest of the capital.Link: NY Times: In Germany, spring wears white > (free registration likely required)
They call the annual season of madness spargelzeit, or asparagus time. Along with the flowering of daffodils and lilacs, the appearance of the fat, juicy spears marks the end of the wet, cheerless Continental winter, and entire households jump into the family Volkswagen or Mercedes for a jaunt out into the countryside to sample the freshly cut asparagus. ...
In town and country restaurants across Germany, chefs vie to produce special asparagus menus. The least imaginative among them will offer a half-dozen standard variations, perhaps including asparagus with ham, cream of asparagus soup, asparagus with scrambled eggs, asparagus with cheese sauce, asparagus salad and asparagus with Wiener schnitzel. I have even seen (but never tasted) asparagus ice cream.