Gastronomy at the crossroads of Europe
Surrounded by a rural mosaic of narrow lanes and historical towns, beautiful castles, chateaux, and picturesque wine cellars, Brno has been the crossroads of Europe for centuries, a place where major routes traveling east to west and north to south meet, bringing varied cultures into contact with each other. The local gastronomy takes its inspiration from those influences and from old folk traditions, and is grounded in the fertility of the region, where many grains, potatoes, fruits, and wines lend their distinctive character to the cuisine. The traditional kitchens of this territory were simple but filled with fruit dumplings, potato pancakes with plum jam and poppy seeds, or hearty legume soups.
Several significant gastronomic traditions were born in sunlit South Moravia: Podhorácko is the home of Ivančice asparagus; Znojmo is famous for its unique cucumbers; Mikulov and Znojmo have a phenomenal tradition of wines and wine festivals; visitors to Brno can enjoy the atmosphere of the Cabbage Market.
Asparagus in Ivančice
The most famous asparagus plantations in Ivančice date from the early 19th century. At that time, Ivančice asparagus, or špargel, was more famous than Pilsen beer and was exported to the whole of Europe, including the imperial court in Vienna. Pharmacist Anton Worell first cultivated this crop in bulk in 1829. Asparagus cultivation declined after the First and Second World Wars when investors shifted their focus to sugar beets.