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08 June 2006

Asparagus Time


Asparagus - eat it every day!

One thing I've noticed during my time in Austria is this:  By and large, people are more connected/closer to the food supply.  Restaurants and markets feature produce that is in season.  For example, May-June is known throughout Austria as "Spargel Zeit" (asparagus time).  During this time, every restaurant & cafe proudly displays menu specials featuring asparagus.  So far I have sampled asparagus in a number of forms - raw, steamed, pureed, roasted, creamed and as a mousse.  I never knew A) asparagus was so flexible and B) I could eat so much of it.

Even the Austrian winemakers have jumped on the asparagus bandwagon.  Each year, the Austrian Wine Marketing Board sponsors a Spargelwein (asparagus wine) competition.  The winner is then able to display a special badge on his/her wine - and the stuff sells like hotcakes.


The winner of the asparagus wine competition

I was able to taste this year's winner at the Ursin Haus Vinothek in Langenlois (Lower Austria).  Ursin Haus is a great place - It features wines from all around Austria's Kamptal.  Manager Wolfgang Schwarz explained to me that the wine shop is a jointly owned by 52 winemakers.  Each wine is offered at winery-direct price (i.e much cheaper than in a typical retail shop).  And, on weekends and holidays, one of the partner winemakers mans the shop and is available to answer questions from customers.  A fabulous idea.  Excellent execution.

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Same as just across the border in Italy (where I have just been). Asparagus is grown locally and highly regarded. Then there are the chestnut festival in the autumn, the mushroom festival etc etc


What did the asparagus wine taste like?

I like asparagus, but asparagus wine sounds aweful.


Oops. By Asparagus wine, I mean wine to go with asparagus wine. This particular wine in the photo is a young, light Gruner Veltliner.

Sorry for the confusion!


Have written on Spargel for (Asparagus, Ramps and Morels and on my blog just posted on Asperges Sauvages...Sauvages, Moi?...Some day hope to visit your country! Was close, years ago, so close...

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