Cycling for Spargel, Kirsch and Blue Painted Bikes: Black Forest Region, Germany.

Freiburg, Germany 2010. Photo by J. Chong
Freiburg, Germany 2010. Our first few days were based in this well-preserved medieval town in southern Germany.Photo by J. Chong

Without any preplanning, our first few days of our European cycle touring ride became a mini Tour du Spargel or Tour du White Asparagus. The trip segment in southern Germany was marked by the region’s known spring culinary delights:  spargel or white asparagus, cherries, and strawberries.  Also for two villages, the rides were marked by local blue painted bikes.

Locals can be serious about their spargel.  It is evident in  local farms where there are rows of spargel grown carefully under cover and underground in the soil with harvest from May to June.   At German local farmers’ markets, the spargel were graded and priced according to their level of freshness. Spears plucked a few hours earlier that day and if spears were unbroken, they were more expensive.

Sampling a light spargel soup. Karlsruhe, Germany 2010. Photo by J. Chong
Sampling a light spargel soup. Karlsruhe, Germany 2010. Photo by J. Chong

During our rides outside of Freiburg, Germany to Basel, Switzerland and later to Karlsruhe, Germany near the Rhine River, we passed by farms with patches of spargel and sometimes,  spargel stands. It was not unusual to see farm stands specializing only in spargel and cherries or strawberries. It was the start of strawberry and cherry season. Occasionally there were even bottles of local kirschwasser or cherry liqueur for sale, nestled amongst local white wines  which have made Germany world famous.  Some farmers at the local marketplatz or outdoor market  under the soaring gothic Munster (or cathedral) in Freiburg, were selling a few bottles of their home wines along with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Different prices for different grades of spargel at marketplatz or marketplace (farmers' market). Freiburg, Germany 2010. Photo by J. Chong
Different prices for different grades of spargel at marketplatz or marketplace (farmers’ market). Freiburg, Germany 2010. Broken spargel spears were cheaper but not considered as tender. Nearby were fresh kirsch or cherries. Photo by J. Chong

I even had spargel as my main dish for four consecutive suppers. The local culinary dish is spargel served with schinkel or air-dried, thin ham slices, similar to prosciutto, wrapped around spargel or served on the side. The whole spargel bundle was either wrapped with a thin warm crepe or sliced up pancake on the side and draped with a hollandaise or light butter sauce.  It was all I needed for my supper entrée of the day after a breakfast buffet.

Spargel salad at a restaurant west of Weingarten, Germany. Weingarten in German means 'wine garden'. In the heart of wine growing region less than 5 kms. from Rhine River. Photo by J. Chong
Spargel salad at a restaurant west of Weingarten, Germany 2010. Spargel was cooked in light salt water. Weingarten in German means ‘wine garden’. In the heart of wine growing region less than 5 kms. from Rhine River. Photo by J. Chong

We were even treated by Jack’s uncle and aunt to a spargel brunch at a restaurant that specialized in spargel dishes. I had tried spargel soup and on another day, a spargel salad. Both quite delicious and both not at all typically served in any German cuisine restaurant in Canada since North American emphasis is on green

Country roadside spargel stand near a bike path. En route to Basel, Switzerland 2010. Photo by J. Chong
Country roadside spargel stand near a bike path. En route to Basel, Switzerland 2010. Stand also sold their own kirschwasser (Translates literally as cherry water, but it is not ‘water’.) or cherry liqueur Photo by J. Chong

asparagus –a different flavour.

Even at one of the restaurants we patronized, they offered spargel ice cream.

As for the blue painted bikes, we noticed that two different villages on our different rides outside of Freiburg, planted symbolic blue painted bikes to mark a major bike route that we followed along with a German bike route map through the Black Forest region near the Rhine River.  However spargel was a far more memorable beacon for this picturesque and bike-friendly part of southern Germany.

Cycling through a German village that has a Spargel Festival. On the way to Basel, Switzerland 2010. Photo by HJEH Becke
Cycling through a German village that had a spargel Festival. On the way to Basel, Switzerland 2010. Photo by HJEH Becke

Our Bike Rides:
Freiburg, Germany to Basel Switzerland: 95 kms.

Frieburg, Germany to Strasbourg, France: 99 kms.

Between Karlsruhe, Germany and Weingarten, Germany: 40 kms. (round trip)

Advertisements

9 Comments Add yours

  1. timethief says:

    As I read your travelogue I imagine what it would be like to be riding with you – gun, of course! Take good care not to spin out of control … 😉
    Missing you,
    TiTi

    Like

  2. timethief says:

    ***headesk*** gun was meant to be fun 😦

    Like

  3. Jean says:

    Yes, riding over cobblestone roads with ground heave ripples does require abit of focus. 🙂

    Like

  4. So did you feel like a female Lance Armstrong? I’m glad you had the occasion to live your passion out of the country and I certainly wasn’t expecting a culinary post from you! I don’t know if I more jealous about your ride in Switerzland or your stop in France.

    When I bike I tend to be really hungry but I think a lighter meal with sweet cherries is perfect to get back on the road.

    I’m not sure though how you put up with the wine and the biking. I remember seeing this French movie (Les Chtis) where 2 of the main characters were locked up for biking while drunk. That was so hilarious! You should see that movie!

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      Hardly a female Armstrong! However the cycling routes that we did in Europe were easier and not as hilly as here in Vancouver. Cycling wineries tours aren’t the greatest thing for me since I truly have to ration my wine tasting: just less than half a glass starts to affect me abit.

      Strasbourg, France which is near the French-German border, was great. You would have found it interesting. Unfortunately we spent only a few hrs. in Basel, Switzerland.

      Like

  5. That Spargelfest sign is a treat!

    Like

  6. Jean says:

    A lot of effort to make a sign –out of hay bales for Spargelfest. But there is love for white asparagus there ..and only once a year.

    Like

  7. spajzgirl says:

    Super blog…I am keen on biking as well!!!

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      🙂 Hope you enjoy your bike trip ride around Lake Constance, spajzgirl.

      Like

Chime in with your thoughts here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s