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—the veggie is deliciously unavoidable.
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. If you don't think the vegetable is worth a road trip, you may likely find millions of Germans disagreeing.
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 queens. The annual Beelitzer Spargelfest, held from June 5–7 in 2020, brings 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 (closed through March 26, 2020), and Spargelhof Elsholz.
Spargelzeit also coincides with erdbeeren (strawberry) season, so pick up a box of sweets with your savory veggies.
Badische Spargelstrasse is one of the most famous routes for seeing the veggie. It runs through the northern area of Baden-Württemberg for roughly 84 miles (136 kilometers) from the town of Schwetzingen—where the famous vegetable is produced—via Reilingen, Karlsruhe, and Rastatt to Scherzheim.
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 spargel peeler, the veggie's 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, Walbeck becomes a spargeldorf or "asparagus village" in the spring season.
The town's many restaurants offer every variation of a spargel dish. On May 3, 2020, there is an asparagus and craft market where the spargel princess welcomes visitors on a beautiful flower-decorated float in a parade through town.
The Spargelhof Janßen "everything about asparagus" family day event for people of all ages takes place on June 7, 2020, and the Asparagus and Village Festival happens on June 20–21, 2020. Check official websites for details and updates.
Niedersächsische Spargelstraße, a route in northwestern Germany, 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 smoke house 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.
Bruchsaler Spargel-Erlebnis—the Bruchsal asparagus experience taking place from May 16 to 17, 2020, which includes a gourmet market plus eating and drinking—is a top destination in Baden-Württemberg.
The major growing region includes the towns of Bad Schönborn, Forst, Hambrücken, Karlsdorf-Neuthard, Kraichtal, Kronau, Oberhausen-Rheinhausen, Östringen, Philippsburg, Ubstadt-Weiher, and Waghäusel.
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.
Spargelhof Kutzleben's tent restaurant opens for the season on April 17, 2020, serving up the favorite local veggie on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays. Make reservations and get further details online.
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 on Thursdays and Saturdays at the Lenbachplatz building features a spargel queen who oversees the proceedings. You can also visit another collection at the European Spargel Museum. 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.