If you have ever been to Austria, you might already know that Austrians like to celebrate every possible occasion. On November 11th, we even schedule two: the beginning of the Carnival Season and Saint Martin’s Day.
And what love Austrians to do the most on those special occasions?
We like to complain love to eat. We love to get together, have a good time with our loved ones over a glass of beer or wine and enjoy a delicious meal. And as for all seasonal events, we also have a traditional dish for Saint Martin‘s Day, also known as Feast of Saint Martin too: Roasted goose.
Some background story to start with
As almost all traditional feasts in Austria the Saint Martin’s Day has a remote religious background: Martin of Tours, born in Pannonia (Hungary) was a soldier who served the Roman Army. One night during a snowstorm, he cut his warm coat in half with his sword, shared it with a freezing beggar and saved him from the cold. The same night he dreamed of Jesus Christ wearing that same cut in half coat and Jesus revealed himself being the beggar. That event led to Martin quitting the army. He got baptized, started to learn the doctrines of the church and was later appointed as the bishop of Tours, France.
Saint Martin died on November 8th 397 but was buried on November 11th. Since then that certain day is Saint Martin‘s feast day. He is now known as the patron saint of beggars, soldiers, armorers and domestic animals.
In German St. Martin‘s Day is called Martinstag, Fest des heiligen Martin or Martiniloben in parts of Austria. Many people traditionally eat roasted goose, called Martinigansl or Martinsgans in German.
But why do the Austrians eat roasted goose?
A legend says that when humble Martin found out that he was appointed as the bishop, he tried to flee and hid in a goose barn. But because the gooses honked loudly, the townspeople found Martin right away. Since then the gooses have to pay for their betrayal.
Our traditional Viennese Martinigansl Dinner
This year, a friend of mine took the time to organize a relaxing Martinigansl dinner for a group of friends. Naturally I jumped at the chance to try that traditional Austrian Saint Martin‘s Day dinner. For some reason I never had the chance to try roasted goose before, so this time was a first for me.
My friend did some research and found a nice typical Austrian tavern. As necessary he reserved a table in advance and even already ordered the number of goose servings. You are not obligated to order in advance but that certainly secures that they do not run out of it.
After a little waiting time they finally served us our meal. Next to the roasted goose drumstick we got red cabbage with apple and potato dumplings, as well as a roasted pear with cowberry jelly on the side.
As normal the goose was a little dry but went perfectly with the gravy. The red cabbage was perfectly seasoned with a little sweetness from the apples. The potato dumplings were soft and went perfectly with the goose.
For dessert we had a cream made of sweet chestnuts, which are also traditionally eaten in Fall in Austria.
All in all the dishes matched perfectly and we had a really nice evening. I am already looking forward to next near.
Mister Wong‘s delicious Insider Tipps:
- Carefully research a restaurant, whether it online or local newspapers. This is essential to find the place with the most delicious meal.
- Do not forget to reserve a table and a serving of roasted goose. This is essential around the 11th. All the good places are normally fully booked, even on weekdays.
- Be hungry! The portion is big. And do not mind to get dirty while eating.
- Enjoy yourself.
Oh yeah, and if you wonder what the Austrians traditionally eat for Carnival? It is Krapfen, a deep-dried hole-less donut traditionally filled with apricot jam.
Did you like what you just read?
Even if not, please follow me on all my social media accounts like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest where I only seldom post anything of importance because of major procrastination attacks. At least I plan to post something useful occasionally.
Instagram → https://www.instagram.com/where.is.mrwong/
Facebook → https://www.facebook.com/where.is.mrwong/
Twitter → https://twitter.com/where_is_mrwong/
Pinterest → https://www.pinterest.at/whereismrwong/
If you still have more tips which I should include here, please drop me a message on my email, Facebook or Instagram.