Asparagus is the first treat of spring

The green spears bring the promise of summer, and soon we will get to enjoy the new season's crops. In April, it's time to savour asparagus, although the Finnish crop will only be ready for harvest later.

The simplest way to enjoy the fresh taste of asparagus is with melted butter or a vinaigrette dressing. Gourmets will prepare a rich hollandaise sauce. Parma ham and different types of cheese are also great accompaniments to asparagus.

The edible part of asparagus is actually a shoot, and its colour ranges from white to green and even purple, depending on where it has grown. White asparagus grows underground and green asparagus above ground. The purple colour is the result of the tip rising out of the soil into the light.

White asparagus is popular particularly in France, Belgium and Germany. Its flavour is mild and rounded. Green asparagus, which tastes a little like peas, is commonly eaten in the UK, US and Italy. Which type is the best is, of course, a subjective matter.

What drinks go best with asparagus?

Pick a dry, fresh white wine with high acidity or a light, fresh beer. Here are a few suggestions to make your choice easier.