Crispy crust, beautifully juicy and tender goose meat, two dumplings of each type, red and white cabbage. This is a pat on the stomach that many of us indulge in these days around the feast of St. Martin. Saint Martin’s feast is a feast for gourmets. A beautifully baked goose is also a food favorite of gastro influencer Pavel Maurer. Although he prefers to avoid the gastronomic frenzy of the crowd. According to him, quality can suffer in the flood of offers.
I remember as a child that my beloved Moravian grandmother Anička sat astride a goose in the backyard a few weeks before “Martin” and manually stuffed a cone or a slejška, simply a specially prepared nutritious mixture, directly into its throat. I think she put a lot of care into that goose delicacy. It contained older buns soaked in milk, finely chopped nettles, flour and cornmeal. Just goodies to make the geese gain weight quickly. In other words, so that they do not die in vain, but surrender their bodies to human feasting in the best condition.
St. Martin’s Day goose. Traditions you don’t want
From Beak to Tooth
The goose didn’t always look enthusiastic about this super-feeding, but that was already the village habit. That it sounds weird, raw today? My grandmother was definitely not cruel and cruel, she was a good-hearted, pious village woman of twelve children. Her relationship with agriculture, soil, garden and domestic animals was completely natural. She gave them extraordinary attention all year round, never letting them go hungry, even if she herself had nothing to eat. But when it came time for slaughter, she behaved as her ancestors from Blatnice had taught her for generations. Pig, duck, goat, goose, rabbit or chicken – no one was allowed to suffer. The death was done so quickly and professionally that the animal was usually not even afraid. And then from him she used practically everything, as they say from “snout to tail” or from “claws to feathers”. Today we would probably name this practice “zero-waste”. What was not eaten or otherwise used (as easily as rabbit skin or feathers) was given to dogs and cats. So the recycling cycle was 100% preserved.
The victory of quantity over quality
The goose parties that await us these days have their pros and cons for me. First of all, I don’t like crowd events. I like Easter but it’s no reason to stuff myself with eggs, I like the wines of Burgundy, but when there are monstrous Beaujolais Nouveau days around almost the entire planet, I’m a bit shy. In the same way, young St. Martin’s wines or geese do not appeal to me when I am forced to do so in a campaign. More specifically, I love goose with white and red cabbage and potato lox, but when it is offered in one week almost everywhere, I am a little worried about the Pyrrhic victory of quantity over quality.
Although I respect seasonality in gastronomy, I can’t help but imagine those tons of quickly produced geese, driven, imported, fed, simply ready for “the goose week”. After all, every decent restaurant has to have a goose on the counter these days. But who knows where they will get it and in what form?
When tradition becomes a trend. Saint Martin’s goose fills restaurants
Did you miss Martin’s goose? You can still catch up on the weekend. Restaurants that prepare a St. Martin’s goose menu are blessed. The association with roast goose makes St. Martin perhaps the most popular saint in our otherwise very profane society.
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Understandably, many have their permanent and reliable suppliers, who know a year in advance how many geese will be purchased and work with certainty, so to speak. But in between, other interested parties appear. And at that moment, a serious lover of St. Martin’s Goose must have more than one question: Will this goose be good too? Will it be cooked properly, is it a quality, well-fed goose?
If you decide to prepare Stout Martin’s goose yourself at home, you are sure to use a proven recipe or be inspired by various approaches on the Internet. I would just like to remind you that you mustn’t rush the goose. Bake it slowly for 4 to 6 hours at relatively low temperatures. If you have a stove, maybe all night. Put an apple in it, the great gastro-blogger and chef Mr. Cuketka advises “sprinkle the whole goose with salt and leave it in the fridge overnight”. My grandmother would remind me – use the goose fat, which the right goose has enough of, in the future it will be good for bread, potatoes or toast. And if you can, use real Czech cumin, which is very much needed and the one from our fields is of very high quality.
Well, if you don’t feel like cooking at home, there are hundreds of restaurants offering goose feasts these days. You just need to spy a little and even ask outright where they get their geese, how long they have been cooking them and if they have any special goose change. Don’t let this tradition be ruined by a hasty decision.
Pavel Maurer: A shack in the kitchen is a crime. I would have no mercy on scumbags
Dirt, stench and mold in places where food is prepared for guests? In these cases I lose all my kindness. I would treat the originators of this gastronomic spectacle as criminals who threaten our lives. However, statistical data on inspections in catering establishments are more alarming every year. Unfortunately, frequent problems are increasing.
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Pavel Maurer: I love food on the train, but I hate smelling foreign salami
A backpack on your back, a steak between the breads, a pickle in foil for connoisseurs and a train ticket in your pocket. These are the long-ago memories of the traveler, now gastro-influencer Pavel Maurer. He continues to travel by train, although these days he prefers to order a schnitzel with mash in the dining car.
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What is the most luxurious food in the world? Pavel Maurer is looking for him
A quarter-pound steak coated in edible gold? A giant bluefin tuna caught before your eyes? What is the most luxurious food? The search for it was undertaken by the famous gourmet, more precisely the gastronaut Pavel Maurer.
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Read other parts of the gastro series Don’t eat stupidly with Pavel Maurer exclusively on Newstream
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