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White DOP Asparagus of Bassano: history and curiosity of a territorial delicacy

Hotel Belvedere

Bassano del Grappa is famous for the palladian Old Bridge which offers stunning views and for its panoramic position at the foot of the Pedemontana Veneta.

However the landscape is not the only aspect of distinction of our territory: much appreciated and renowned is the white asparagus.

It’s a DOP product of Bassano del Grappa, which grows in this area along the river Brenta. In fact, the white asparagus needs a particular soil, permeable. Moreover, it can’t be exposed to the sun to preserve its white colour. Let’ see together its characteristics.

The season, its preparation and how to recognise the original

The white asparagus has its typical shape, called “of paw”. Its harvest season is between 19th March until 16th June, how people from Bassano say from Saint Joseph until Saint Anthony.

The harvest is made rigorously by hand, cutting the base with a knife to avoid to ruin them. According to the procedural guideline it has to be tied in bundles with the “stroppa”, a willow sprout. You can find it in bundles of at least 1 – 1,5 kilos in many local markets or in local grocery stores. The original must have the stamp from the Consorzium.

You never throw anything away from white Asparagusit is completely edible, from the stem to the head. It perishes quickly, therefore it should be eaten or cooked within few days.

The typical dishes from the tradition are risotto, and the classical “Ovi e Sparasi” in Bassano style, that combines the white shoots with an egg sauce. Asparagus crudité are also excellent in salads, or as a sauce to flavor first courses.

Its taste is very delicate, which makes it particularly suitable for gourmet combinations, so much so that many internationally renowned chefs use it for their creations.

The history of white asparagus

The origin of white asparagus is very ancient. The first documents date back to the Most Serene Republic of Venice, in the 16th century. At that time, it was offered to the nobles during banquets. The evidence indicates that also during the Council of Trent, (1545-1563) the Council fathers stopped at Bassano and had the opportunity to taste the “sparasi”, and sang its praises.

Fun Facts

Bassano white asparagus should be naturally green.It can’t be exposed to the sun to preserve its white colour, this is why, it is grown in a special way, underground. In fact, the whiter they are, the more valuable they are. There is also an ancient legend that stars the white asparagus. It seems that Saint Anthony scattered a handful of seeds on the road that connects Rosà to Bassano, in order to win favors from Ezzelino II from Romano, whom was involved in the battle between Paduans and Veronese for the supremacy on the territory of Bassano. This would trace the presence of Asparagus in Bassano back to around 1230.

Have you ever tasted them? Discover the proposals with asparagus from the menu of the Ristorante B38!

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