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!

  • Catching a book title out the corner of my eye, I read "Nixon's Nuclear Sphincter". Specter. It was specter. I blame American spellings. 4 days 23 hours ago
  • RT : Deutsch ist wirklich eine verdammt schwere Sprache. Tagsüber: Der Weizen Das Korn Abends: Das Weizen Der Korn 1 week 5 days ago
  • A day of fun on the water for €7*...I'd call that a bargain! (*ice cream not included) https://t.co/YUR11WyspW https://t.co/750ysFPEW7 1 week 6 days ago
  • For anyone suffering politics overload...bunnies! They're hopping around the Hansaviertel if you want to pay them a… https://t.co/m9BiruceSt 2 weeks 5 days ago
  • The Otto Bartning exhibition is great if you like architecture and understand German - https://t.co/GIg28Wy3H0 - closes on 18th! 2 weeks 6 days ago
  • Must say that have done a great job with Café Kranzler - really nice chilled out space for watching… https://t.co/Q1QxpsYoJe 3 weeks 1 day ago
  • Not all Beelitz residents are interested in asparagus... https://t.co/cQoyptodrJ 3 weeks 2 days ago
  • It's a lovely sunny day in Beelitz! This Spargelpfanne with white & green asparagus, tomatoes and penne is the perf… https://t.co/7LoWqyBk2P 3 weeks 2 days ago
  • RT : Tried some good Ghanaian, Gambian and Egyptian food at Berlin's African Food Festival today. https://t.co/W70cliVoEY 1 month 1 week ago
  • This is a nice documentary (in German) from about building in East and West Berlin: https://t.co/fbddtA9HcN 1 month 2 weeks ago