The Veneto region and particularly the territory around Treviso, seem to have all the characteristics, above all the sandy soil, that favour the growth of a singular vegetable, with a pale colour, a delicate flavor and which dates back even as far as the times of ancient Mesopotamia: the asparagus.
It is rather superfluous to say that the asparagus is good for you: it contains little fat and few calories while it is rich in fibre and essential minerals for the body. It is appreciated both for its pleasant, delicate taste and for its diuretic properties. The asparagus is considered highly in the realm of modern alimentation, that underlines the need for light foods with low caloric content and the importance of vegetable fibres.
This vegetable should be cooked fresh in order to fully appreciate its gastronomic value and delicate fragrance. For the correct way to conserve asparagus, it is advisable to wrap them in a damp cloth and place them in the vegetable compartment of the 'fridge where they will keep for a few days.
In Treviso the products of Cimadolmo and Badoere stand out for their excellence: both have the appellation of PGI, that of Cimadolmo since the year 2001 and Badoere since 2010 and the gastronomical itinerary 'Strada del Asparago', the Asparagus Route, in fact leads from one place to the other.
The White Asparagus of Cimadolmo PGI is cultivated on sandy-silty soil of alluvial origin, that is permeable and accurately drained, along the banks of the river Piave. The temperate damp climate that is typical of this area, characterized by heavy rainfall in the spring, favours the rapid growth of the asparagus; dark sheets are spread in order to prevent the filtration of light, thus enabling the sprouting of tender white turions that are lacking in fibrousness.
The Asparagus PGI of Badoere is a traditional product that goes way back; its origin would appear to date back to the annexing of the Venetian territories to Republican and Imperial Rome. There are two types – the white one with pinkish shades, totally free from fibrousness, with a sweet taste and a mild aroma of fresh legumes with a just perceptible hint of bitterness, and the green one of a bright strong colour with purple shades, a strong taste and fruity, grassy aroma.
The asparagus season as a rule goes from the beginning of April to the festival of Saint Anthony in Padua on the 13th June. In this period, there is a full calendar of events held in the areas around Treviso that are associated with this vegetable; particularly worthy of note are the two exhibitions "Germogli di Primavera" (Spring Buds) and "Superbe".
Photo by Marc De Tollenaere