By Emma Krasov, photography by Emma Krasov
I remember how I came to try it for the first time. It was in Chicago, and the preparation was done by the world-famous chef. Under my server’s intense gaze I bit into a pale meek stalk, and couldn’t force myself to take another bite.
“So, how is it?” he said. “Bland,” said I – to his barely contained outrage.
Since then I was not actively seeking this perennial shoot intentionally held underneath the soil to keep it colorless. It didn’t do anything to me – until I’ve tried it at Palmenhaus restaurant in Burggarten, Vienna. Silky, tender, mild, but full of spring-like fresh flavor, it was simply served with a boiled potato, some bitter greens, and buttery-lemony hollandaise sauce. What a delight!
Steel-and-glass Art Deco Palmenhaus, where Emperor Franz Joseph liked to spend his time off admiring the hot house palm trees, is not the only place that serves white asparagus. Every self-respecting eatery in the city does it in spring and early summer. While I continued to order it everywhere, I took time to explore other notable staples of local cuisine and the Viennese culinary scene in general.
At least once a day during my trip, exhausted by the sightseeing overdose, I did what tourists do – lounged on a banquette at one or another notorious Viennese café drinking coffee and snacking on chocolaty Sachertorte or vanilla-drenched Apfelstrudel.
http://www.vienna.info/, http://www.palmenhaus.at/, http://www.sofitel.com/, http://www.kameel.at/, http://steirereck.at/wien/meierei, http://www.motto.at/, http://www.cafe-schwarzenberg.at/.