It is one of my old traditions to walk in the Breitenstein area at the end of October/beginning of November to enjoy the last warm days and beautiful autumn colors. More often than not, I pass by Speckbacher Hütte, so I am fully aware that it offers Martinigansl. However, I never imagined I would get a chance to try goose there in my lifetime. First, it’s almost impossible to find a table, even on the restaurant’s spacious terrace. Second, in such a small hut frequented by hikers, many of whom favor lighter and healthier food, it is completely understandable that goose needs to be pre-ordered.
Thus, when I was lucky to take up the last available table (on the terrace, in the shade and with a couple of strangers joining me soon afterwards) and asked the waitress to confirm my “no reservation – no goose” theory, I did not expect to hear, “Sure, you can have one, it will just take some time.”
The time was obviously required to retrieve the pre-cooked goose portion from a fridge and warm it up, though judging by how long it took, the portion could have well be frozen. Nevertheless, when the dish finally arrived (by the time I was ready to order my third beer), I was surprised to see how attractive it looked. The goose portion itself was smallish, but two dumplings were present, as well as a separate bowl with red cabbage and slices of mandarin orange. In addition, next to the goose I found something never seen before in a Marginigansl: meringue, that white French dessert. It is hard to imagine what has moved the cook to include it (apart from having too much spare meringue in the kitchen, probably), but it was certainly a brave move. It was also a decision that did not quite work out, for the extreme sweetness of the meringue did not add anything to the goose.
The goose, on the other hand, suffered from a totally different problem: the dryness. Most likely a side effect of unfreezing and rewarming, the meat was quite dry to start with and got even drier because of the low temperature at my shaded table. This problem, however, could have easily been solved by having more “goose juice” or sauce provided. Indeed, as long as there was some juice available, dipping slices of the meat in it improved the taste twofold. When I ran out of the juice – which happened after three slices – I had to turn to the red cabbage to provide some liquid, but that was not the same, especially since the cabbage was not very crispy or tasty, having suffered, too, from pre-cooking and warming up.
To conclude, it was an average goose, and though I am happy to have tried it, I am not going to miss it if I never eat it again. If you decide to choose Speckbacher Hütte as your Martinigansl location (it is a very nice hut with a great view), I suggest, order in advance and make it very clear you want the goose juicy. Even if that has to be at the expense of the meringue.