visit to the Swiss National Museum in Luzern, once upon a time asparagus was grown in Canton Valais. From that moment, I was on a mission to find and consume only Swiss grown asparagus or boycott the vegetable.
The day before Ascension Thursday in an overcrowded supermarket I was scrambling to get a few things for the extended weekend. I could not resist the the towers of green and white sprigs standing at attention commanding me forward. Obediently, I stood before the table of proud sentinels, skinny and thick and various shades of green and white, when my eyes caught site of tiny words printed under “Sparglen Grün” on a panel above a box of unbundled green spears: “aus der Schweiz”. Schweiz? Ohh, SCHWEIZ …. SWISS!!! I was so excited that I squealed! I frantically looked around for someone to tell about my discovery who’d actually care. Instead, I grabbed my camera phone. With shaky hands, I took a couple pictures while the other patrons regarded me as the nut I was clearly being.
Unable to be satisfied with simple pictures, I gathered up a large pile of my discovery and headed for the check-out. I was so enamored to have found what had alluded me for so long that I barely batted an eye at the price – not cheap! Later, I sent an SMS and photo to my mother-in-law. She had recently confessed not being able to find Swiss Asparagus either. Her response to my message was a mix of surprise and dismay. Ha! No Swiss Asparagus at her local stores. As bad as I felt for her, I was too happy at my hoard of green-sprigs to ruminate long on her lack of gastronomic luck. I immediately set to work to incorporate my bunch of Asparagus into a wonderful lemon-cream pasta with almonds. NOTE: Quite possibly more ended up being eaten in the process of cooking than actually made it to the table.
Determined not to believe my experience a fluke, I did a little research. I was happy to learn that asparagus is still the pride of Valais and not a “point finale” in history. Asparagus has a short growing season: April to June. Unsurprisingly, the best way to appreciate this delicacy is by frequenting the farmer’s markets and not a conventional supermarket. A bit ashamed at my shortsightedness but not deterred, I plan to head to the next farmers market I can attend. If I am fortunate, I will find and purchase some White Valais Asparagus this time and savor it along with a Fendant and appreciate my good fortune, as nothing tastes quite as good as fruits and vegetables from ones own backyard.
Bon Appétit! .. And Happy Swiss Asparagus Hunting!