Friday, May 02, 2008
Annual Asparagus Fair!
When I found out that there was an annual asparagus fair being held in the south, I didn't hesitate to immediately organize a day trip! Imagine that, a fair dedicated to what we know here as "white gold"! It made perfect sense to me though, considering the fact that asparagus is huge here in The Netherlands. The start of asparagus season (around the end of April) is a much anticipated event and even the end of the season is celebrated with a farewell mass at St. Jan Church in Den Bosch on the 24th of June. The Netherlands can even boast an asparagus museum and an asparagus association.
After a gourmet breakfast of bacon and eggs à la Hans (gotta enjoy those days off!), we jumped in the car and started on the two hour drive into Limburg. The first part of the trip was pretty standard, not much to see, but as we drove into Limburg I noticed how different the area was from the rest of The Netherlands. I immediately felt as though I were in another country, and in fact I almost was. The asparagus fair was held in Arcen en Velden, a beautiful town just a stone's throw away from the German border. It was evident in the architecture, the bilingual street signs and even the language.
When we entered the fair, we were greeted by an asparagus farmer giving a demonstration about the cultivation and harvest of the crop. I have mentioned before that I am a big supporter of farmers who love their trade and watching this man talk about what he loves most was a wonderful way to start our adventure. After that Kirstie was recruited to help sort asparagus- a job she very diligently took on! We spent the rest of the day looking around the many stalls and of course, tasting!
Lunch was a bowl of asparagus soup- perfectly creamy and mild- and a baguette filled with asparagus spears rolled in cured ham- an unusual but surprisingly delicious combination! As we sat at the sunny cafe enjoying our lunch, I felt a huge sense of joy- something that probably only other foodies would understand!
We left, pleasantly exhausted and looking forward to our next asparagus meal, which of course, would be washed down with a bottle of the wine we purchased at the fair. It looks like we're definitely getting the most out of these delicious months!
Click here for more pictures of the the asparagus fair and our trip to Limburg!