In western New York, where I grew up, asparagus is kind of a big deal. We’d spend the winter eating potatoes, onions and winter squash, along with a lot of miserably out-of-season vegetables; and then, finally, the ground would thaw, little purple crocus blooms would start to dot the yard, and the first dark green asparagus would poke up through the straw in the front garden. They grow so fast, you can watch them add inches from one day to the next, and they taste rich and nutty, fresh and nourishing, and dense and meaty, and that’s when you know - for at least the next few months - you are back in the vegetable game in western New York.
Here in the golden state, the winter table features citrus fruits and avocados, chicories, fennel, and mushrooms, and so many other delights brought on by the cooler, wetter weather. When asparagus come around to popping their heads out, the stage is already so crowded, that no one seems to notice the fat little grass.
The Austrians celebrate asparagus unabashedly. After a winter like theirs, Spargelzeit, or spargel saison, is no joke, and the prized harbinger of spring is traditionally paired with wines made from their native Gruner Veltliner grape. Dry, salty, mineral whites with a vegetal edge and a spice like white pepper, these wines cut through the richness of the asparagus and let its fresh green flavors shine through.
Come taste a full lineup of Austrian Gruner Veltliners this Sunday at OAKLAND YARD.
Complimentary asparagus while supplies last.
GRUNER VELTLINER TASTING: Sunday March 19th, from 12 noon until 6pm
See you there,