Germans are so obsessed with spargel (white asparagus) that there are Facebook groups and websites dedicated to the königliche Gemüse (royal vegetable). Spargel is on every menu and grocery store aisle during the spargelzeit spring asparagus season, which begins in mid-April and lasts until mid-June.
The biggest fans make pilgrimages to the source. Busloads of asparagus enthusiasts travel to farms in the states of Baden-Württemberg in Germany's southwest, Lower Saxony in the northwest, and Beelitz in the northeast to enjoy the prized vegetable. Each region claims to grow the best spargel, but the only way to know for sure is to tour them all.
Just outside of Berlin is the Spargelstadt ("asparagus city") of Beelitz. You will recognize the name if you have ever been in a grocery store in Berlin during the veggie's season, as Beelitz Spargel is proudly stamped on most boxes, stands, and menus.
Aside from shipping its white gold around the country, this small, agricultural center has a Spargelmuseum with exhibits and clothes from former asparagus festival queens. The annual Beelitzer Spargelfest is always held on the first weekend in June, bringing live music, food stands, fireworks, a parade, and children's activities.
Eat the vegetable directly from the source by shopping at the many spargelhöfe (asparagus farms). Many feature restaurants and attractions for the whole family. Start with the well-known farms of Jakobs-Hof, Buschmann & Winkelmann, and Spargelhof Elsholz.
Spargelzeit also coincides with erdbeeren (strawberry) season, so pick up a box of sweets with your savory veggies.
Badische Spargelstrasse isn't one event but rather one of the most famous routes for seeing the vegetable. It runs through the northern area of Baden-Württemberg for roughly 84 miles (136 kilometers) from the town of Schwetzingen to Scherzheim via Reilingen, Karlsruhe, and Rastatt
The region's impressive harvest is dispersed to satisfy the rest of Germany's spargel lust. There are local stands and festivals that celebrate all things asparagus. Attractions include the fastest asparagus peeler, the asparagus queen and/or king, live music, and many mouth-watering dishes.
Schwetzingen, the start of the route, claims the title of “Asparagus Capital of the World.” The asparagus market has been happening here on the first Saturday in May for decades. Walk through the city and look for the statue of the Spargelfrau in which a woman is selling the beloved vegetable.
If you want to work off all that inevitable hollandaise sauce, consider pairing your asparagus tastings with a bike ride. There is a bicycle route that runs near the spargel destinations and even guided bike tours that allow you to just focus on eating.
Located just before the Dutch border and about an hour outside of Dusseldorf, Walbeck becomes a spargeldorf or "asparagus village" in the spring season. It isn't just one weekend or week of events, but two whole months of asparagus-related festivities.
Expect to see the crowning of the spargel princess, a spargel craft market, a parade through the town, a family day revolving around the vegetable, and an Asparagus Village Festival. There's even an evening of "asparagus and cabaret" in what has to be the most interesting combination of events in all of Germany.
Niedersächsische Spargelstraße is a route in northwestern Germany that spans approximately 466 miles (750 kilometers). It connects the lovely Lüneburger Heide to the Hanover Region, the Braunschweiger Land, the Lüneburg Heath nature preserve, the Mittelweser Region, and the Oldenburger Münsterland.
Along with being a major asparagus-growing region, there is a Lower Saxony Asparagus Museum located in a smokehouse structure originally built in the 1630s in Nienburg. You can also explore the nearby historic town center, shopping areas, and a public bicycle path by the Weser river.
Bruchsal Tour de Spargel
If you love cycling and asparagus, you should head to the city of Bruchsal which is just a short distance away from the French border, outside of Stuttgart. The area is known as one of the biggest asparagus-producing regions in all of Europe, and you can see it all—or at least part of it—while biking the 50-mile "Tour de Spargel" route. It passes through fields of asparagus that are in full production throughout the spring months, so you can an up-close and intimate view of how they're farmed.
On your way from Bruschal to Reilingen, you'll pass through small agricultural towns with lots of history and lots of spargel, so enjoy the journey and make lots of stops along the way. Completing the route at the end of asparagus season in June means you'll likely have warm sunny weather while you're biking.
Kutzleben in the east-central German state of Thuringia is a historic village surrounded by picturesque asparagus fields. The town comes to life during spargelzeit season in which many shops sell local goods and everything asparagus. Apart from visiting the fields with their sandy soil to see how the asparagus is farmed, don't miss the Asparagus Tent in Kutzleben. This seasonal restaurant only opens when the asparagus are ready, usually in mid-April, and serves up the local favorite in all different ways—both classic and creative.
In Bavaria in southeastern Germany, there is one time a year white asparagus steals the spotlight from weisswurst (white sausage). Its spargel is known for a strong, nutty flavor and the town of Schrobenhausen revels in its reputation as an asparagus destination.
An annual spargel market held at the Lenbachplatz building features an asparagus queen who oversees the proceedings. You can also visit the European Spargel Museum to really learn about asparagus. Three floors of asparagus paraphernalia have exhibits covering everything from the agriculture to the marketing of this famed vegetable, and guests can even check out an Andy Warhol painting of asparagus.