You know it’s spring in Germany when people start to eagerly anticipate the arrival of weißer Spargel (white asparagus). Unlike green asparagus, white asparagus is deprived of light while it’s grown so it cannot produce chlorophyll. High in vitamins and minerals, low in calories, and milder in flavour than green asparagus, white asparagus is a beloved spring veggie here in Germany.
Despite its huge popularity, I haven’t eaten much white asparagus. Last year I bought a bundle of white asparagus at the grocery store with every intention of creating a delicious dish with it. Unfortunately, my lack of asparagus cooking knowledge and the building pressure of preparing a worthy dish meant that the bundle just sat in my tiny refrigerator crisper drawer until it eventually went bad.
I was determined to become better acquainted with white asparagus this season and was happy to get the chance to visit a local Spargelbesen with the International Women’s Club of Stuttgart a few weeks ago. A Besen (or Besenwirtschaft) is a seasonal, pop-up restaurant that serves regional ingredients and products. The Bauerle Besen that we visited in Fellbach features a different specialty ingredient depending on the season; they serve white asparagus dishes in the spring, beef dishes in the summer, and goose dishes in the fall.
Right next door to the Besen, there’s a little farmer’s market where you can buy fresh produce including seasonal white asparagus straight from the farm.
As soon as I walked into the Spargelbesen, I was glad that we had a reservation – it seemed like every table was booked on an early Tuesday evening. The menu features a wide range of Spargel dishes, from simply cooked with hollandaise sauce, to Flammkuchen, to Maultaschen, and more. Prior to our meals, we were each served a small bowl of hot broth, which I later learned was the liquid left over from cooking the asparagus. It was extremely tasty – I recommend saving your asparagus cooking broth to sip at home!
I wasn’t very hungry that evening so I only ordered a bowl of white asparagus Riesling soup which was perfectly smooth and creamy. My dining companions ordered cooked white asparagus with hollandaise sauce either by itself or with different accompaniments such as potatoes or pancakes.
I highly recommend a visit to Bauerle Besen if you’re a fan of white asparagus. Just make sure to make a reservation beforehand!
How to get there: The Bauerle Spargelbesen is located at Höhe 1 in Fellbach in northeast Stuttgart. The Spargelbesen is open daily from 11am-11pm from April 1 to June 24, 2016. It’s most easily reached by car but if using public transportation, you can take the S-Bahn on lines S2 or S3 to the Sommerrain stop and walk for about 10-15 minutes to the Besen.
Have you ever tried white asparagus? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!