Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Richelieu: Pays de l'Asperge

The signs on entering the commune of Richelieu announce that Richelieu is the "Pays de l'Asperge". 

Asparagus is listed under Richelieu's Office de Tourisme section *"Terroir" and the website of Pays de Chinonais describes it as follows:

 "L'asperge du Pays de Richelieu Coeur de Touraine : blanche ou violette, les sols sableux sur argile du Richelais sont un terroir de 1er choix pour une asperge savoureuse et douce, produite selon une démarche collective de qualité"

High praise indeed! Braye-sous-Faye even has its own grower, Mme Annie Godard-Devyver. The growers of asparagus are obviously very proud of their produce and with good reason, if the above description is to be believed.

And what does a field of asparagus look like? Well....

Row upon row of black plastic! These photographs were taken today at the start of the asparagus growing season.

The asparagus plant needs to be protected from the light so that it maintains its white appearance favoured in this region.

Personally I prefer a bit of colour in my vegetables.... but then I'm no asparagus expert!

*For a definition of Terrior I like the one given by Clifford Wright writing on the culture of food and drink:

"Terroir is uniqueness of place, what gives the food from that region a particular taste by virtue of what the soil brings forth.... Nevertheless, it is more than just soil and climate. It is the application of the methods, techniques, habits and customs of a culture when it interacts with its soil for the purpose of growing food. Not just that of the farmer and vintner, but everyone else who is involved in transforming that food into a cuisine."


Susan said...

I agree - white asparagus is subtle to the point of ... why bother... Give me flavoursome skinny green stuff any time.

Pollygarter said...

We get lovely fresh green asperges in GP market regularly during the season, the stallholder knows she's got enough anglo customers to justify it! Great stuff.