Compared to the turbulent 2020, 2021 was a rather quiet year from the goose perspective. In 2020, a lockdown arrived so early and so suddenly that most restaurants did not have a chance to sell even a small portion of the ordered geese and therefore had to experiment with takeaway options. In 2021, on the other hand, the lockdown was all but expected, and the wholesalers apparently chose to stock fewer birds than usually. Thus, when restaurants were told to close their doors in mid-November, hardly anyone bothered with takeaway anymore.
The other trend of 2021 was the rise of “organic” geese. With sustainability and climate change on everyone’s lips (at least on everyone’s on TV), many restaurants realized they could charge extra 10 euros by simply putting the words “bio” and “Weide” in front of “goose.” A couple of restaurants even offered both organic and non-organic versions.
After a quarter of a hundred portions the year before, I took it easy in 2021 and only ate eleven. Alright, it was fourteen to be exact, because I ate twice at the same restaurant, bought and cooked one portion at home and also visited Schiefer Giebel without writing anything about it afterwards. I am simply unable to write more about that place and its superior skills at cooking geese. I am not even going to give it an award this year. Let us simply agree that from now on, unless I explicitly say differently, Schiefer Giebel is the best place to eat goose, anywhere, anytime.
This having been clarified, the winner of the GooGoo (“good goose”) award for 2021 is Herbeck Neue Gastwirtschaft, which, in addition to serving a very competently cooked goose, also proved that not all dumplings are shit. (A word of warning though: a reliable source told me that Herbeck’s geese served at lunch time are far inferior to those available in the evening.) Two other restaurants trailed behind Herbeck by one or two points only: Das Bootshaus by the Alte Donau and Klein Steiermark near the central railway station. Both are, of course, highly recommended.
The greatest disappointment of the year – completely deserving the PooGoo (“poor goose”) anti-award – was the “new Viennese Beisl” Stuwer. Once the pioneer of sous-vide takeaway geese, it served me something shameful this year. Click on the link, and the photo should convince you.
Since 2020, I post pictures of all the reviewed geese (and the restaurants where they are served) on Instagram, and strangely, there are people who look at them and even like them. In 2021, the goose earning the most likes (14) was the one at Waldschenke Schreiber. I can only remark that pictures can be deceiving.
Let’s hope for a lockdown-free goose season in 2022!