Spargel (shpag’-el) is the German name for asparagus and if you have been to Germany in Spring you know that April marks the beginning of Spargelzeit (asparagus season). Whereas green asparagus is available in the US year-round, (white) asparagus in Germany is very seasonal. Just as apples are a sign of fall season, asparagus marks the beginning of spring. Spargelsaison in Germany begins in April and ends abruptly on June 24 (Midsummer Day).
Americans almost exclusively get only green asparagus whereas most asparagus in Germany is white. Rarely green asparagus can be found in Germany. It is then specifically called “grüner Spargel” (green asparagus). White asparagus has a sweeter taste and is more tender than green asparagus. It is grown in sandy soil and covered with black plastic sheets by the farmer. This prevents the asparagus from turning green from exposure to sunlight. Using machines during the harvest can result in broken stalks which have a very low commercial value. Therefore harvesting the white spargel is done by hand.
The states of Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony take special pride in being prime Spargel growing regions. The scenic “Asparagus Route” in the Baden region runs through the town of Schwetzingen which claims to be the “Asparagus Capital of the World”. Many towns along the Asparagus Route in our area celebrate Spargelfest (asparagus festival) which attracts visitors from all over the world. Practically every restaurant along the Asparagus Route create special Spargelmenus featuring frischer Spargel (fresh asparagus) allowing you to order this vegetable as an appetizer or soup, an entree or even as part of a dessert.
During Spargelsaison you will run into many roadside stand’s where farmer’s sell their harvest. Gourmets know that Spargels tastes best “picked in the morning, eaten at lunch” and therefore more than 50% of German’s Spargel is purchased directly from these farmer stands. At the beginning of Spargelsaison, the cost can be anywhere from 15 to 25 euros per kilo.
No matter if you are booked on one of our culinary tours right now to have us show you the restaurants with the most exciting Spargel-recipes or if you are travelling by yourself. If you happen to be in the Black Forest right now – ENJOY SPARGELSEASON!