An early Christmas dinner - Goose and Schwarzbier



"I wouldn't cook goose dear, it's very fatty!" were the words of wisdom my grandmother imparted on coming to stay for Christmas one year. We weren't planning on having goose, but still she felt it worth saying, repeating "Very fatty, dear" even after she'd been assured we weren't having it.

It was only when I was living in Germany that, invited by colleagues to a Gänseessen (goose dinner), I discovered the truth about goose. In place of the plate of blubber that my grandmother's remarks had led me to expect was a plate of a dark, tender and flavoursome meat. I was hooked.

You'll see goose starting to appear on the menus in restaurants from about November onwards (having a Gänseessen is traditional for St Martin's Day on November 11th) and of course it's a popular choice for Christmas dinner too. It's often served with red cabbage (Rotkohl), but sometimes you'll get offered a choice between that and Kale (Grünkohl)...and in the particular restaurant where I took the photo, it came with leeks (Porreegemüse, in this context - a leek is a Porree, or a Lauch).

This is a goose breast (Gänsebrust) but you'll sometimes see the leg (Gänsekeule) on sale instead...or you might get both (Brust und Keule von der Gans)!

You'll notice two big round yellow-ish things behind it. They're not, as you might fear, school-dinner-style mashed potato served with an ice cream scoop, but potato dumplings (Kartoffelknödel, or Kartoffelklöße). They are made with mashed potato, but usually together with flour and eggs (and sometimes semolina). They often have some toasted breadcrumbs in the middle.



And what to drink with all of this? I'm rather partial to a Schwarzbier (black beer) myself. While it might look like a stout, it's actually made like a lager. The character's somewhere in between - packed with toasty malt flavours, but not quite as heavy.

This particular one is Köstritzer from Bad Köstritz in Thuringia. It's been brewed there since 1543 and it's said that even Goethe was a fan. There's also a Schwarzbier brewed in Berlin, Märkischer Landmann, but that one is unfortunately going to have to wait for another time.

Follow @journeytoberlin on Twitter!

  • Considering the plane reeked of stale turds, I think I can say that 's service today has literally… https://t.co/2d2bpn0AIK 1 day 23 hours ago
  • Taking of gliders, Otto Lilienthal's Fliegerberg is an interesting piece of Berlin aviation history that you can st… https://t.co/MXMjfXsK5l 2 days 1 hour ago
  • Should I take advantage of being unburdened and take all the copies of the hate rags that give out… https://t.co/WTatPnWwsC 2 days 2 hours ago
  • RT : What's the matter with . 3rd from bottom in polls. Not surprising when you pay for checked in bagga… https://t.co/kT791EVRgP 2 days 4 hours ago
  • I think making last-minute changes to baggage allowance and texting them through just as someone's getting ready to… https://t.co/S5lL3kr6r7 2 days 4 hours ago
  • Hi , does your text and email 'inviting' me to check in my hand luggage mean I don't get the hand b… https://t.co/jRSPaO0RAy 2 days 5 hours ago
  • Join me this Sunday for a wintry walk back in time through the backstreets of Berlin Mitte! Glühwein optional... https://t.co/pahjUsP3cZ 3 days 5 hours ago
  • Whether you'll be out enjoying Christmas markets or thoroughly fed up of shopping, you can join me on December 17th… https://t.co/T7aPE4K61p 2 weeks 3 days ago
  • Did someone say Christmas markets? https://t.co/fnrlDskWyK 3 weeks 4 hours ago
  • I wasn't sure whether to mention Christmas yet, but places on my Christmas history tour are filling up already! https://t.co/pahjUsP3cZ 1 month 1 week ago