Czech cuisine isn't exactly stealing the global culinary spotlight, and chances are, you haven't had a taste of our traditional dishes unless you've made your way to the Czech Republic. Our modern meals are mostly meat-centric and undeniably hearty; even our dense soups could easily pass as a main course rather than just a starter. In a nutshell, our culinary style tends to prioritize filling our stomachs over pleasing our taste buds. On the bright side, some of our recipes have won over tourists and expats, and rightfully so. However, the latter often grumble about menus being a bit rigid, not quite capturing the seasonal and regional flavors—sadly, a valid point, especially outside Prague. St. Martin’s festivities are one of the rare occasions when you actually can get seasonal dishes even in the countryside.
Martin of Tours, or St. Martin, has no roots in Bohemia. Born in Pannonia (modern-day Hungary), he later became a bishop in Tours, France, where he eventually passed away. Despite his unrelated origin, the tradition of serving goose on his feast day has stuck around. It likely found its way from the Netherlands or Germany into Czech cuisine. Today, missing out on a St. Martin’s Goose is practically sacrilegious for Czech foodies. Most restaurants whip up a special feast menu featuring traditional goose broth with liver dumplings, liver pâté, and roast goose served with cabbage and dumplings.
While the goose tradition spans at least five centuries, the uncorking of St. Martin’s wine is a relatively modern custom introduced and promoted by Moravian wine producers. The appointed time is 11:11 on November 11th. And yes, having a drink before noon is perfectly acceptable in the Czech Republic. St. Martin’s wine is akin to Beaujolais Nouveau, the first wine of the year. Unlike the world-known French wine, Svatomartinské can be made from any grape variety.
I must confess, Svatomartinské isn't exactly my thing; when it comes to wines, I lean more towards robust reds. Even though wines generally get better with some aging, even the softer and fruitier young ones have their fans. However, I'd argue that the fatty, roasted goose pairs exceptionally well with beer. That makes me a true Czech, after all :)
Do you wonder how much such roasted goose is? Divide the prices by 23 for USD or 25 for EUR equivalent.