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!

  • My tours have always been mindful really...read more about them here! https://t.co/vmoNGaS1aj 2 months 2 weeks ago
  • So apparently 'Mindful Travel' is now a thing. Anyone fancy a mindful tour of ? ;) 2 months 2 weeks ago
  • Introducing the Weltmeister Basset - East Germany's 1960s bass keytar: https://t.co/OzEkIEsjBa 3 months 16 hours ago
  • Nice piece on David Bowie in Berlin by in : https://t.co/zxoaPZShFf 5 months 1 week ago
  • West and East Berlin in 1981 - some interesting Super 8 footage by Gerrit Sievert: https://t.co/F5MaeJRPak 5 months 3 weeks ago
  • A flight over late-70s West Berlin, complete with groovy soundtrack and slightly tongue-in-cheek German commentary: https://t.co/PjwR2yxrG6 5 months 3 weeks ago
  • Stollen with candied green tomatoes and carrots? A German-language video about baking Stollen in the GDR: https://t.co/T2uP65H0my 6 months 4 days ago
  • Hänsel and Gretel mistook the witch's house for the ambassador's reception thanks to a giant Ferrero Rocher https://t.co/PzPMaNZlPO 6 months 1 week ago
  • As Berlin's Christmas markets open today, here's the latest version of my ever-popular guide to them! https://t.co/fnrlDs3laa 7 months 4 days ago
  • Here's a fun Berlin-themed take on the traditional 'Schwibbogen' - https://t.co/l7PD0uwEAm 7 months 1 week ago