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What is “Gänseessen” And Where Do You Find It?

December 13, 2018

Welcome to a beautiful (slightly rainy) Düsseldorf winter! You may start noticing a few common holiday traditions around Düsseldorf, on signs, promotional flyers, and Facebook events. One of the best things about being an expat in Germany is being able to embrace these wonderful traditions, and trust me, they’re delicious!

A common tradition during the holiday season worth sharing is the traditional “Gänsessen”, which you may have heard about or seen on menus outside of the restaurants around the city.


What is Gänseessen?

Gänseessen is referred to as a “goose dinner” in English. Since this blog is in English, let’s refer to Gänseessen as a goose dinner from now on out to avoid confusion, shall we?

A goose dinner is a typical meal eaten during the months of November and December in celebration of St. Martin’s Day and the Christmas season. You may also notice this dish can be called “Weihnachtsgans” or “Festtagsessen“. These 3 terms are all relatively similar in what’s offered up on your plate. While it varies from family to family, a traditional German goose dinner typically includes roasted goose, gravy, knödel (a potato or bread-like dumpling) and rötkohl (red cabbage), sometimes even roasted chestnuts.




What is the story behind the dish?

It’s been said that the traditional goose dinner originates from St. Martin’s election day. Apparently, St. Martin was a modest man who in order to avoid the spotlight during election day decided to hide in the goose stables. Of course, the geese squawked at their new visitor which allowed the public to find him during his election as the new bishop. As revenge, St. Martin celebrated with a delicious roasted goose dinner.

Sounds a little cruel, but legends are legends, right?

Have you heard any other stories about where the dish originates from? 


Where are the best places to try “Gänseessen” in Düsseldorf?

Enough reading! It’s time to try out a real goose dinner for yourself. Here are some great locations in Düsseldorf where you’ll be able to indulge in some delicious German tradition.

You may realize that the price of a goose dinner is notably more expensive than any other dish offered in the restaurants around town. This is a special dish and definitely worth the price you pay if you’re a fan of roasted goose! It’s also important you call ahead to let the staff know! 


 Note: These options may change year by year, so be sure to check out the menu before arriving.

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Life in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf, Germany

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