Every year in Germany thousands of gourmands and regular folks (who just so happen to like good German food) travel along the Baden Asparagus Route, or the Badische Spargelstrasse, from April to June 24 (the official end of Asparagus Season) to appease their gastronomic cravings in the grandest of style.
It all starts in Schwetzingen, the Asparagus Capital of the World. Yeah, sure, there’s a castle that was once host to Voltaire and Mozart, but come April when everyone’s here for the Asparagus Run. They’re also here for the Spargelfest (Asparagus Festival) on the 1st weekend of May, and the Asparagus Market operating weekly on the Schlossplatz from April to June.
It’s tough to leave my beloved Schwetzingen, but you’ve got 136km to cover.
Hockenheim, your next town on the Baden Asparagus Route, can thank the asparagus plant for saving it. The place was totally devastated by war, and the cash crop of it jump-started the economy a couple centuries back.
I know that Hockeheim is more traditionally famous for its motorsports museum and formula 1 racetrack, but for two months a year you can join right in the asparagus picking fun. The Street Festival on the third Saturday in May is a nice way to sample a variety of asparagus dishes.
Next stop is St. Leon-Rot, where the asparagus earned its own exhibit at the Local History Museum. Finish your day off with a round of golf, for the best of both worlds — food and sports. ;-)
The next town on the Baden Asparagus Route is Bruchsal, home to the largest asparagus festival in Germany (mid-May, mind you). Other sightseeing includes a visit to its castle (with a castle festival in July).
The versatile “King’s Veggie” isn’t complete without a queen, so good thing one is chosen in Graben-Neudorf. Here’s where you’ll find a yearly event known as the Asparagus Cup in mid-May.
One look at the Japanese Garden or the castle in Karlsruhe and you might find yourself forgetting about asparagus for a minute there. Nah, the Strawberry & Asparagus Market every year is too delicious to pass up.
Goodness, you’ve just finished up the northern part of the Baden Asparagus Route. I bet you’re hoping the southern portion is just as tasty. :-)
We kick off the southern parts of the Baden Asparagus Route in Bietigheim, known for its regional cuisine using the asparagus in everything — including dessert. Between meals you’re always welcome to visit the town’s 12th century chapel.
Rastatt is often a stop along guided asparagus tours, and rightfully so — it’s another stop along the Badische Spargelstrasse. When you’ve had your fill of either the green or white variety (it’s white because it never sees the light of day to turn it green through photosynthesis) of your veggie delight, make time to see the Baroque castle, fortress, and its Jewish cemetery.
You’ll find many asparagus farms in the last town of our scenic Baden Asparagus Route, in Lichtenau (Baden); more precisely, in its Scherzheim district. Can you get any fresher an asparagus than right from a local farm to a local restaurant? No, I didn’t think so either.
Remember, whether you have it steamed, boiled, broiled, fried, or stir-fried this is one wholesome, good veggie for you. What better way to celebrate it than with a whole scenic route dedicated to what’s more precious than gold around here.
Baden Asparagus Route Web Site
The official (German) website of the Baden Asparagus Route.