Tuesday, March 27, 2018

White Asparagus

We are approaching Easter, but the weather remains cold. This is a disaster for asparagus lovers. See what Elisabeth and I had last year for Easter when on April 27, the asparagus harvest was in full swing:

White asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce, Kratzede (pulled pancake), and Wiener schnitzel
Germans adore white asparagus spears. An article in the Badische Zeitung told the full story titled, “The Asparagus Roulette”. While in March local asparagus is extremely rare and expensive the Greeks are coming to the rescue of German enthusiasts of the "white gold".

Mr. Anastasios Karkatzalos from Nestos said, “We don’t know how the Germans do their cooking. We only eat green asparagus as a salad.” And Kostas Maragkosis from Nespar added, “We made several attempts to export green asparagus. but it did not pay.“

More than 90% of the white asparagus harvested in Greece is exported to Germany, but the timing must be right. Maragkosis knows, “Asparagus is a nervous vegetable, don’t stress it.” It is quite tricky to hit the market early enough before production starts in Germany. Indeed, Spyros Papadopoulos, regional councilor of the asparagus-producing region East Macedonia-Thrace, said, “With respect to white asparagus the Germans are chauvinists. When their own production is ready to be harvested they take German asparagus and disdain imported spears.” In fact, we Germans, eating on average more than 1.7 kg of white asparagus in a year, are the biggest European producer and cultivate the vegetable on 233 square kilometers.

For my French friends on the other side of the Rhine river white asparagus always is served cold and as a starter. So when a couple of years ago Freiburg’s Cercle Francophone had organized a Spargelessen (asparagus eating) in a restaurant at the Kaiserstuhl our French guests were somewhat vexed waiting for the main course still to come.

1 comment:

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