Herbs, © Fotolia / M.Dörr & M.Frommherz
© Fotolia / M.Dörr & M.Frommherz

Ex­quis­ite spring

The days start getting longer and the first warm rays of sunshine whet your appetite for fresh herbs and flavoursome fruit and vegetables.

Enjoy the first fresh asparagus of the year, straight from the fields of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony). Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) is an asparagus region – in fact every fifth spear of asparagus in Germany comes from this area. Asparagus fields are a dominant feature of the landscape from as early as March. Whether you prefer it served with hollandaise sauce or with melted butter and ham is purely a matter of taste. So too is the question of which region in Germany produces the best asparagus.

Spring is also the best season for rhubarb. Rhubarb is one of the region’s first vegetables of the year. While the green stalks have a rather sour taste, the red ones are a lot milder, and their delicate raspberry flavour is irresistible. Rhubarb is ideal when paired with dairy products – milk, cream and quark (soft curd cheese) make for a perfect match.

Spring is the time to enjoy matjes (young herring) in all sorts of variations: homestyle with new potatoes in their skins, heathland style with cranberry cream and potato rösti, Frisian style with green beans, bacon and pan-fried potatoes, or simply go for the classic version with dark rye bread and soured cream. Matjes are particularly mild herring, matured using the traditional method with natural enzymes in brine. The original production process was developed in the Netherlands back in the Middle Ages. The herring used in these dishes are caught from the end of May to early June.