It started as a year of average geese, as the undisputed leader of the past years, Schiefer Giebel, managed to disappoint with two tiny birds in a row. While beating most of the competition in terms of taste, the portions were just too small to let one appreciate the quality. Not that I did not see it coming – most of my previous reviews mentioned the small portions as the biggest threat – but this year saw the most famished geese of all time. Not good.

It was also a year of legs. Of the 10 geese I ate (that is 2 ½ in real bird terms, an 11% increase over 2015), 9 were served as legs, which is statistically questionable. Actually, only in three places did I see goose breasts served to other customers. Is there some sort of a goose monopoly in Austria that decided to distribute nothing but legs to the restaurants?

Almost the entire November was spent eating unexceptional geese – not particularly bad or good, as the average overall score of 5.5 (slightly higher than in 2015) reflects. Just when I was ready to give up and pass the award to Schiefer Giebel anyway, a chance visit to Figlmüller’s Lugeck brought the unlikely winner: the expertly crafted “goose dish” was not only tasty, but interesting to eat, adding a small twist to every ingredient. Enjoy your well-deserved GooGoo (Good Goose of 2016), Lugeck.

One month later, the last chance to try a goose resulted in the PooGoo (Poor Goose of 2016) nomination: Das Schreiberhaus in Neustift am Walde has done so many things wrong that would have to offer me a free dinner including unlimited drinks (at least) if they want me to have another try next year.

The only other surprise on the goose front worth mentioning is that the Postschänke in Sulz, the home to very fine geese a long time ago before going into turmoil and changing its owners at least twice, serves geese that are not as chic as in the past, but are fully enjoyable.

This brings the goose run of 2016 to the close. I hope that the next year will be more interesting; it should not be too difficult. The Brettljause awards, as usual, will be distributed in the beginning of January.


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