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Spargelzeit or 'asparagus season' - a national obsession

white asparagus

Fresh white asparagus, © dpa

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'Spargelzeit' is one of the most important dates on the German culinary calendar. From mid-April to 24 June every year, Germans go mad for white asparagus, and consume the 'white gold' at least once a day.

Finally, it’s time again – the asparagus season has started in Germany! To say Germans love this seasonal vegetable would be an understatement... they absolutely adore it. Every year, the average German consumes roughly 1.5kg of the vegetable that is often referred to as the 'king of the vegetables'.

Whilst the green variety is available all year round, Germans prefer the seasonal white variety that grows only during ‘Spargelzeit’ (asparagus season) which lasts from mid-April to mid or late June.

More white asparagus is eaten in Germany than anywhere else in the world, except Switzerland. In 2017, over 125,000 tonnes of white asparagus were harvested in Germany alone.

A national obsession

White asparagus with sauce hollandaise
White asparagus with sauce hollandaise© Colourbox

Every year chefs and consumers eagerly await the start of the season. The most popular way of enjoying 'Spargel' is a traditional dish with melted butter, potatoes and ham coated in a creamy hollandaise sauce. Many restaurants offer all types of ‘Spargel’ specialties and combinations in their special asparagus menu during the 'season', including delicious cream of asparagus soup, asparagus ragout or fresh asparagus salad topped with the exquisite asparagus tips. Some of them are more than a little bizarre, such as white asparagus panna cotta.

Rich in nutrients and very low in calories, asparagus has become a culinary highlight for many Germans. Once having caught the ‘asparagus fever’, one can appreciate the huge events around the ‘white gold’ even more – there are asparagus seminars and cooking courses, asparagus peeling contests, festivals, road side asparagus booths, tours, and of course a choice of ‘Asparagus Routes’.

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