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THE LOWDOWN

FOOD & DRINK

Mass goose slaughter begins in Austria

St Martin's Day on November 11th, also known as Martinstag or Martinmas, is a time for feasting in Austria - and those of you who are new to the country may have noticed that many restaurants and guest houses are now serving goose.

Mass goose slaughter begins in Austria
Roast goose with red cabbage and dumplings. Photo: typischich.at

Traditionally, this was the time of year when farmers completed their autumn wheat seeding, and slaughtered the fattened cattle before the winter.

But across Austria St Martin’s Day, and the weeks leading up to it, is marked by eating Martinigansl – roasted goose, served with aromatic chestnuts, red cabbage and fluffy bread dumplings. For many people the meal is just as important as Easter and Christmas dinner.

Traditionally, the day is also the occasion for naming the new wine of the year, so it has special significance for the wine regions and villages in Burgenland, around Lake Neusiedl.

St Martin of Tours started his life as a Roman soldier but was baptized as an adult and became a monk. One legend has it that he hid in a goose stall when he was summoned by the church to become a bishop, as he felt unworthy. But the geese cackled so loudly that Martin was found – and now geese are eaten on his name day.

In parts of Austria children celebrate Martinstag by carrying paper lanterns they have made in school, in an evening procession. In some places the lantern procession ends with a Martinsfeuer (bonfire).

If you’re planning to try Martinigansl in Vienna the Kurier newspaper recommends Rudi's Beisl, in the 5th district. Their goose is served with red cabbage, white cabbage and a choice of potato or bread dumplings for €19.90.

If you don’t eat meat then you could try the ‘goose’ at Gasthaus Schillinger, 2002 Großmugl, in Lower Austria. It’s made from seitan (wheat gluten), and served with an onion and marjoram jus, along with red cabbage and potato dumplings. Available from November 7th, for €11.80.

If you fancy a more luxurious dining experience then Gerstners Landhaus, in Vienna’s 19th district, is serving a three course meal for €29 from November 1st.

A goose broth with baked Kaiserschöberl croutons is followed by free-range goose breast with goose praline and red cabbage and Waldviertel dumplings. Dessert is sweet baked apple served with gingerbread foam. Mahlzeit!

Send us your Martinigansl recipes, photos, or restaurant tips. 

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VIENNA

Wiener Weinwandertag: Everything you need to know about Vienna’s ‘Wine Hiking Day’

After a two-year pandemic break, one of Vienna's beloved autumn traditions is back. Here's all the info you need to take part in it.

Wiener Weinwandertag: Everything you need to know about Vienna's 'Wine Hiking Day'

During an early autumn weekend, thousands of Viennese and people from other parts of Austria participate in the city’s Wine Hiking tradition, which is exactly what it sounds like: walking around vineyards and trying out different wines and food.

It’s a great way to celebrate the arrival of autumn (and fresh wine season) in a very Austrian way: outdoors, with friends and family, and with traditional drinks and food. “Visit wineries and wine taverns with snack stations, taste delicious Viennese wine and enjoy the view of Vienna from viewing points”, the City of Vienna advertises.

READ ALSO: Explore Austria: Mauer, a charming wine-hiking spot on Vienna’s outskirts

There are four different paths that people can take, with different lengths. The shortest is the Ottakring hike, in Vienna’s 16th district, with 2.4 kilometres.

There is also the Mauer trek in the 23rd district, with 4.6 kilometres. The Strebersdorf to Stammersdorf, in the 21st district, offers two different routes, one with an 8.8-kilometre length and the other with a 9.6-kilometre trek.

Finally, the longest trek is in the 19th district, the Neustift am Walde to Nussdorf, with a 10.8-kilometre length. Of course, you don’t need to take the entire route and there are several stops with food, wine, entertainment and even children’s playgrounds on the hikes.

There are also many spots to sit and enjoy the view (and wine). (Copyright: PID / Christian Fürthner)

How do I get to the hiking points?

  • Weinspaziergang Mauer (23rd district): You can get there with the 56A bus (stop Ursulinenkloster) or the Bus 60A (stop Rodauner Strasse).
  • Weinspaziergang Ottakring (16th district): You can get there using bus 56A (Ursuinenkloster stop) or bus 60A (Rodauner Strasse stop). This is a round trek.
  • Weinspaziergang Neustift bis Nussdorf: You can get there through several entering points and follow different routes. The main points are Neustift am Walde (Autobus 35A), Sievering (Autobus 39A), Weingut Wien Cobenzl (Autobus 38A), Grinzing (Straßenbahn 38), Nußdorf (Straßenbahn D).
  • Weinspaziergang Strebersdorf bis Stammersdorf: There are also several points of entrance and different shortcuts to make the trekking shorter, but the main entry points are: Strebersdorf (Straßenbahn 26) and Stammersdorf (Straßenbahn 31).

The hike is family-friendly and can also get quite full (Copyright MA 49 / Fürthner)
 

The hikes in detail

The hikes are varied in length and offers. They bring different resting points and different stalls where local wineries can show their products. The official brochure has all the maps and signs, but the paths themselves are also very well maintained and signalled. The hundreds of people walking them also serve as a good guiding point.

Alternatively, you can also hike along smaller sections. Here you can find maps and more information on each paths:
 
Ottakring

(Stadt Wien)
Resting spots:
A: Weinbau Stippert
B: Weinbau Leitner

Neustift bis Nußdorf

Stadt Wien
 
Resting spots:
A: Weinbau Wolf
B: Weingut Kroiss
C: Buschenschank Haslinger
D: Weinbau Burner
E: Weingut Wien Cobenzl / Wiener Gusto
F: Genuss am Cobenzl
G: Buschenschank Hengl-Haselbrunner
H: Weinbau Wiegel
I: Weinbau & Buschenschank Taschler
J: Wagner & Glass
K: Weinbau Langes
L: Mayer am Nußberg
M: Buschenschank Feuerwehr Wagner am Nußberg
N: Weingut Wailand
O: Weingut Stift Klosterneuburg
P: Pedalones
Q: Buschenschank Wanderer am Fuße des Nußbergs
R: Buschenschank Wieninger am Nußberg
S: Buschenschank Franzinger
T: Buschenschank Windischbauer
U: Die Buschenschenkerei Ing. Michael Ruthner
 
Strebersdorf bis Stammersdorf

Stadt Wien
 
Resting spots:
A: Weingut Schilling und Tony Allen – Naturalcrafts
B: Weingut Walter Wien
C: WBV Strebersdorf
D: LAWIES – Buschenschank über den langen Wiesthalen
E: Villa Weinrot
F: Bio-Weingut Weinhandwerk
G: WBV Stammersdorf Vinothek
H: Weingut Dr. Höfler – Ausblick.Wien
I: Weingut Sackl
J: Buschenschank in den Gabrissen
K: Keller am Berg K. Lentner
L: Heuriger Gerhard & Hermine Klager
 
Mauer

Stadt Wien
 
Resting spots:
A: Weinbau M&M Beranek
B: Weingut Edelmoser
C: Bio Weingut Fuchs-Steinklammer
D: Buschenschank Grausenburger

READ ALSO: How to drink wine like an Austrian

The trails are senior and child friendly; there are separate, specially marked trails for families who like to travel with prams.

Dogs (on a leash) are welcome.

The stalls are open from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

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