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Leeds Castle News03 May 2020

Asparagus king of the vegetable plot

In celebration of National Gardening Week, not all the best plants in the garden are flowers!

The cultivation of asparagus began 2,000 years ago in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Romans brought cultivation to Northern Europe and to the UK. Grown on a free draining sandy loam, with a southern aspect often grown near the sea and fertilised with seaweed, asparagus is the start of the English vegetable season. With a very short season from late April to early June, it has always been popular with aristocracy and must on the dinner party menu of fashionable wealthy society hostesses.

Lady Baillie, Leeds Castle’s last private owner, served asparagus to her guests and her canteen of cutlery contains three pairs of ‘asparagus eaters’ to enable the easy service of the delicate green spears from serving dish to plate. Etiquette and table manners allow for firm asparagus stalks to be eaten with the fingers even at the poshest dinner parties, but never to be tried if coated in a sauce!

Leeds Castle today carries on the tradition of offering elegant house parties and weddings and our spring menus reflect the sumptuous opulence of the 1930s heydays of Lady Ballie’s dining table.
Dishes include a delicate asparagus and Kentish blue tart and our succulent sautéed salmon, with cauliflower and almond puree and fresh asparagus.

The Bacchus grape goes beautifully with asparagus. To complement Kent asparagus a delicious local wine called Balfour Liberty’s Bacchus can be found on our wine menu or ordered direct from Hush Heath Vineyard:

Our Chefs are already working on new menus for our spring and summer weddings next year, if you would like to talk to us about holding your special celebration at Leeds Castle contact us at

If you can’t wait until Leeds Castle can welcome guests back to enjoy our fabulous Castle View Restaurant, there are local growers who you can buy asparagus from now.

Groombridge Farm Shop:

Produced in Kent: