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Asparagus from the Vipava Valley

Springtime luxury on the plate

By the lower stream of the River Vipava, where the climate is simply perfect and the soil just rich enough, grows asparagus of outstanding flavour. Excellent natural conditions aren't the only reason for the superb quality of the Vipava Valley produce. Local pride in this popular and healthy garden crop also rests on the rich tradition of its cultivation. Building on the experience of past generations, today's growers skilfully pick superior sites for planting the delicate vegetable, testing out different varieties with the goal of growing the very best asparagus.

In the Lower Vipava Valley, around Miren, both white and green asparagus is regularly grown. The essential difference between the two is the cultivation technique. White asparagus, also known as beluši, is grown underground, covered in soil and opaque foil to keep it from sunlight. White asparagus has been around for a couple of centuries, while green asparagus was eaten already in times of ancient Mesopotamia. After long years of favouring white counterparts, modern cuisine has begun appreciating green asparagus, too. The growers of the Vipava Valley diligently examine the fine differences between the varieties, using different ones to best suit their growing style.

White or green, all asparagus is amazingly wholesome. Some attribute it with healing properties, too. Its low caloric value makes it a staple ingredient of weight loss diets, and it's packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as many other nutrients beneficial to cardiovascular health. Asparagus is also a natural diuretic. It even has the reputation of an aphrodisiac.

Indeed, the culinary spring in the Vipava Valley cannot be imagined without the asparagus, though we can never guess when exactly it'll be sprouting. Sometimes, it peeks out the earth in February already, while asparagus season is in April and May. By the start of June at the latest, the asparagus says its goodbyes. During those few months though, a rich abundance of the delightful vegetable is found in the valley, exciting with its highly characteristic flavour that provides endless inspiration for culinary creativity. Inns and restaurants across the Vipava Valley regularly feature asparagus in their spring menus, and culinary masters keep surprising with their asparagus-themed creations.

Orehovlje, a scenic village near Miren in the Vipava Valley, is considered the asparagus capital of the land, where the Festival of Asparagus is prepared every year in May. Next to the interesting culinary workshops and cultural program, three days of festivities in Orehovlje also offer ample opportunity for tasting traditional and modern asparagus dishes. An event not to be missed by any serious asparagus lover!