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Spargelfest

Listed under Harvests & Food Festivals in Mannheim, Germany.

  • Photo of Spargelfest
  • Photo of Spargelfest
  • Photo of Spargelfest
Photo of Spargelfest
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The German taste for white asparagus was first developed by the Elector Palatine Karl Theodore who, in the 17th century, decided to start growing the vegetable in the light sandy soils of the back garden of his palace in Schwetzingen. Gradually other royals followed suit, growing their own crops of the ‘royal vegetable’ and the appetite for this light deprived, and therefore milky white, asparagus gradually spread out amongst the general population. Today between April and June, Germans go crazy for white asparagus and in Schwetzingen where it all began they hold a huge asparagus festival (Spargelfest) in its honour. At the festival there are stalls selling dishes made with the asparagus. The most famous of these is asparagus with a hollandaise sauce and smoked ham, but there is also asparagus soup, sausage and asparagus and even asparagus ice-cream. The day also features the crowning of the asparagus king or queen, who has grown the heaviest stalk and a grand peel off where competitors are judged not only on the amount of stalks they peel, but on the quality of their peeling. Spargelfest coincides with the annual Mozart festival so once you have had enough of asparagus you can sneak away and enjoy one of the musical events taking place.

Written by  Alessia Horwich.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Our first clue to the wonders of weisser Spargel was when driving in the Alsace - a restaurant that immediately became our favorite had a sign hanging under the restaurant sign - it said simply "Spargel".

We figured - any restaurant who has a special sign that they hand when asparagus is in season must be worth checking out.

The rest is history, for us. The remainder of our 4 years in Heidelberg were spent reveling in Spargelzeit when it came around.

In fact, all veggies at the local Obstbau, or farmer's market, made us appreciate what we've lost in the states - year-round access to produce from around the world lulls us into thinking that is a good thing - when in fact, waiting and anticipating the produce grown a few miles from your dining room table convinces you instantly that it is worth the wait, and worth cultivating recipes for whatever is in season at the time.

Oh, how foolish we are when we visit the Super Stop&Shop produce section!!

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