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Asparagus is an icon of Italian cuisine, also according to Manet

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When asparagus starts to appear on market stalls, you can be sure that spring has arrived.

While the flowers are what we eat when enjoying artichokes, in the case of asparagus, the edible part is actually the young shoot of a new plant. 

Asparagus has an ancient history. In fact it was greatly appreciated thousands of years ago and the charm of this healthy vegetable has not only inspired great chefs, but famous painters as well. Indeed, Eduard Manet dedicated two canvasses to asparagus: L’asperge and Une botte d'asperges.

Today we are familiar with the versatility of asparagus, which may be used to prepare traditional recipes of Italian cuisine or appear in more daring culinary experiments, but it is excellent when enjoyed in the simplest possible form.

Green asparagus is more common and, in Italian cuisine, is often paired up with the creaminess of fried eggs. Differently coloured varieties do however exist: purple asparagus, with its slightly bitter taste, is ideal when teamed up with other spring produce such as broad beans; the white variety, which is sweeter in taste, can even be eaten raw in a fresh and fragrant carpaccio.