We are already starting to see asparagus on the shelves in France, even if the real season starts in May.
There are two kinds of asparagus available in France : small green asparagus and larger white asparagus that grow underground. Purple asparagus is actually white asparagus that has been allowed to grow out of the ground and whose tips turn purple under the effect of light.
The green ones are popular south of the Loire where they are eaten fried with garlic and olive oil. The white ones are rather cultivated north of the Loire and are eaten boiled or steamed with various sauces: mayonnaise, hollandaise, vinaigrette.
The main producing regions are the Loire Valley, the South-West, the South-East and Alsace (the best according to the Alsatian that I am). To celebrate the opening of the asparagus season, our muse Billie puts pretty Alsatian asparagus on a Gien cake dish as Martha Stewart would do.