ASPARAGUS

GERMANY

‘Spargelzeit, or white asparagus season, officially begins in April, and harvesting finishes punctually on 24 June, the Christian celebration of the nativity of John the Baptist. The start of the season coincides pleasingly with the first rays of warm sunshine that follow a long, cold winter. Across Germany, white asparagus is mostly – and arguably best – served plainly, cooked in a light stock and plated up with melted butter, boiled potatoes or savoury pancakes and a couple of slices of cooked or cured ham. Traditional restaurants offer menus dedicated to this seasonal favourite, offering soups, salads and warm spears served with hollandaise sauce. It’s also served as a sort of add-on to other regional favourites, piled upon a schnitzel or a slice of saumagen (a haggis-like specialty from the Pfalz region), or stacked alongside a pair of hot, meaty bratwürst. White asparagus is tricky to pair with wine because of its mild but slightly bitter flavour. It’s best to stick with a fresh, dry white and take into consideration what you’re eating your asparagus with: if your dish is simple, choose a silvaner or a riesling, and go for a Weissburgunder (pinot blanc), if there’s hollandaise involved,’ (Source: ‘White gold: the German love affair with pale asparagus’, The Guardian 14th June 2016).