Eating Germany III: hail Bärlauch, you harbinger of spring

I recently shed a layer on my morning run as the sun is very slowly gaining in strength, and I can see the buds swelling on the trees in front of the kitchen window – spring is coming! Which means: Bärlauch time is around the corner.

BärlauchBärlauch, often also called wild garlic,  is a close relative to N. American ramps, or ramson. German foodies “discovered“ it at the end of the 1990s. The green spring leaves that grow profusely in beechwoods and resemble lily of the valley are being worked into everything possible and impossible.  It thus became an example of how a truly wonderful thing can turn almost into a nuisance. Sometimes on reading a menu, the reaction is “oh please, not again…“. But Bärlauch is delicious, and lends itself very well to be worked into pesto. Germans are rather obsessed with this Italian sauce, and here is my recipe:


For about 1 cup – which could be empty after a pasta dish for six real aficionados, or last you a few days to flavor all kinds of vegetables, soups and cold meat

1 c. rather tightly packed, Bärlauch or ramps, leaves only, washed, dried and cut into 1/2 inch stripes
1/3 c. pine nuts
1 tbs. salt (I like salt, perhaps you prefer to reduce this)
1/2 c. grated parmegiano reggiano cheese
1/3 c. olive oil

Blizz all the ingredients in a blender or food processor to a rather rough consistency. I by far prefer to use a mortar and pestle, as the result is more fragrant, but it does take longer. Eat as freshly made as possible – enjoy spring’s fragrance.

Many thanks to Barbara Ehlert for the lovely pictures.

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