Germans are so obsessed with spargel (white asparagus), there are facebook groups and websites dedicated to it. It finds its place on every menu and grocery store aisle. It is its own season of spargelzeit.
But eating it wherever you are is not enough for the königliche Gemüse ("King of Vegetables") biggest fans - they need to go to the source. Busloads of spargel enthusiasts spend the spring and early summer traveling to farms to enjoy this prized veggie.
The states of Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony are two of the most important asparagus growing regions in Germany, with the city of Beelitz claiming the Northeastern title. Each region claims to grow the best spargel, but the only way to know for sure is to tour them all.
If you don't think spargel is worth a road trip, millions of Germans disagree with you. Here are the best spargel festivals and spargel routes in Germany with plenty of castles, museums and scenic drives along the way.
01 of 06
Badische Spargelstraße is one of the most famous routes for spargel. It runs through the northern area of Baden-Württemberg for roughly 136 km. Stretching from Schwetzingen to Reilingen to Karlsruhe to Rastatt, the route covers numerous small towns. The region's impressive harvest is actually enjoyed across the nation with stands from this area appearing in less agricultural areas.
Full on festivals also appear throughout the region and feature such attractions as the fastest spargel peeler, spargel queen and/or king, live music and many mouth-watering white asparagus dishes. Everyone goes completely Spargel mad.
The start of the route, Schwetzingen, claims the title of “Asparagus Capital of the World”. The asparagus market has been happening here on the first Saturday in May for over 100 years. When you are walking through the city, look for the statue of the Spargelfrau. In 2018, they will hold their annual Spargelfest and celebrate 350 years as a major spargel grower.
For the foodies that want to work off all that inevitable hollandaise sauce, consider pairing your asparagus tastings with a bike ride. There is a bike route that runs along the spargel destinations. There are even guided bike tours so you can just focus on your eating.
02 of 06
Just outside of Berlin is another Spargelstadt (asparagus city), Beelitz. This small, agricultural center has a Spargelmuseum and a magnificent annual Beelitzer Spargelfest. You will recognize the name if you have ever been in a grocery store in Berlin during spargel season as Beelitz Spargel is proudly stamped on most boxes, stands, and menus.
There are also many spargelhöfe (asparagus farms) with vegetable stands, restaurants and attractions for kids within the town. Just for a start, try Jakob’s Hof, Buschmann & Winkelmann and Elsholz. And Spargelzeit coincides with Erdbeeren (strawberry) season so pick up a box of sweets with your savory.
03 of 06
Located just before the Dutch border, Walbeck has adopted the nickname of spargeldorf or "asparagus village".
The town's many restaurants offer every variation of the dish. On the first Sunday in May, there is a large asparagus and craft market. At the event the asparagus princess welcomes visitors on a beautiful flower-decorated floats in a parade through town.
04 of 06
Niedersächsische Spargelstraße in northwestern Germany is approximately 750 kilometers. It connects the lovely Lüneburger Heide to Hanover to Braunschweig to Oldenburger Münsterland.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
06 of 06
Visitors make their way to this village in upper Bavaria year round to sample its many seasonal goods. Its spargel is known for its strong, nutty flavor. Schrobenhausen revels in its reputation as a spargel destination an holds an annual Spargel market with a Spargel queen overseas the proceedings.
You can also learn more at another Spargel Museum. (Who would have thought there was more than one?). There are three floors of asparagus paraphernalia with exhibits covering everything from the agriculture to marketing of this famed vegetable. There is even an Andy Warhol painting of asparagus.