So, it is almost upon us.
For anyone who lives in Germany, their diet is about to change. Around about this time of year the entire population of Europe’s biggest nation swaps its hearty meat and potato dishes for what is probably the national dish of the German spring/summer: Spargel.
Spargel is of course asparagus but not as you know it: white, creamy and a bit softer than the elegant green spears you might be used to. Only German Spargel will do, since February imports from Peru, Greece and Spain have been lurking around in supermarkets close to me but once the first German white or violet asparagus emerges from the farms of the Niederrhein, Münsterland and Ostwestfalen, my city is going to be in asparagus elation for the next three months.
Usually eaten with a few slices of cooked ham, small cooked potatoes and buttery Hollandaise (in most homes from the sachet or tetra-pak), Spargel is one of the only national dishes that can take the avid beer drinker away from his fizzy, yellow drink – Spargel is a wine dish and I’m here to suggest a few great wines you might want to try with asparagus this time around. All of these wines are German and all are dry.
The Wildcard...Meyer-Näkel Rosé 2011
Of course, asparagus is best enjoyed with white wine but you can drink red or rosé with this traditional dish as long as you adhere to certain rules. Of course, I’d only used lighter Pinot Noir wines with little in the way of spice and earth, certainly nothing with Barrique or heavy wood notes. Württemberger Trollinger and Lemberger cuvees work especially well too though (put them in the fridge).
This rosé is derived entirely from Pinot Noir in Germany’s Ahr Valley – try it with the traditional asparagus dish and substitute the cooked ham for either smoked ham or smoked white fish – you can even add a few (skinless) cubes of tomato to the sauce for a match made in Hollandaise.
What do you think? Do you enjoy asparagus? Do you have a wine you particularly enjoy with this classic dish. If you have a recipe, I’d be very grateful to receive it. Use the comment form below or send me an e-mail here. Cheers!