Budapest celebrates St. Martin’s Day 2018 with goose and wine

Photo : Corso Restaurant/InterContinental Budapest

Around this time of year, it’s a Hungarian tradition to pair goose dishes with new wine. Every 11 November, the nation commemorates St. Martin of Tours, a kindly individual born within this nation’s boundaries in 316 AD. Celebrations surrounding this patron saint include eating goose dishes accompanied by some of the newest wines, products of autumn’s harvest season. See our rundown for where you can join in the feast.

St. Martin of Tours set off on a religious path in his youth to preach and convert pagans through western Gaul. While he gained lots of followers, legend has it that he tried to avoid the role of becoming the Bishop of Tours by hiding in a goose pen. However, the honking animals soon revealed his whereabouts, prompting a lasting tradition in Hungary, where St. Martin’s Day is celebrated every year by devouring goose dishes. According to folk custom, it is considered the last excessive feast before Lent. If you want to learn more about this customary tradition, see this article.


In the weeks surrounding St. Martin’s Day, many Budapest restaurants offer a special menu focused on waterfowl and wine:


Grand Wine Festival at the Gellért Hotel

Photo: We Love Budapest

A prominent St. Martin’s Day celebration is the annual wine festival at the century-old Gellért Hotel, overlooking Liberty Bridge on the Buda side. On 9 and 10 November, Hungarian wineries set up sampling stations within the building, where a wristband provides unlimited tasting of tipples. Gastronomy outlets will offer goose dishes, cheeses and sweets.


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Goose days at Rosenstein

Photo: Rosenstein

Offering stellar Jewish cuisine, family-run Rosenstein puts on a special menu around St. Martin’s Day. From 8 November, guests can devour diverse dishes made of goose, including rillettes, aspic, soup, stuffed cabbage, foie gras and roast meat. Classic Jewish flódni cake, a layered sweet, is offered for dessert.


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Bock wine dinner at Peppers!

Photo: Peppers

2018 wines of the venerable Villány-based Bock winery accompany starters, soups, mains and desserts presented on a lavish smorgasbord at Peppers!, inside the Marriott Hotel on 8 November. Besides new wines that are lighter in texture, full-bodied variations will also be on offer. The host of the night is owner of the cellar and winemaker József Bock.


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St. Martin’s dinner at Macesz Bistro

Photo: László Balkányi / We Love Budapest

On 8 November, Macesz Bistro in the historic Jewish District entices guests with a five-course meal, where each dish is served with a matching wine. Goose rillettes are best with a glass of late-harvest Tokaj muscat, and Pinot Noir from the Pannonhalma Abbey goes well with goose breast.


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Feast on goose and new wines at Paletta

Photo: Gábor Szabó / We Love Budapest

Summer never ends at Paletta, a homely hangout evoking laidback holidays by the Balaton lakeside. On 9 November, to honour St. Martin’s traditions, a special menu will feature all your favourite goose treats: chestnut soup will come with smoked goose breast, a fresh salad plate will contain goose gizzard, and goose neck will be filled with foie gras. On 11 November, the restaurant serves goose sandwiches and mulled wine on the street, when its Tompa utca location lays on its very own St. Martin’s Day fun.


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Sunday brunch at the Corso Restaurant

Photo: Corso Restaurant/InterContinental Budapest

On the day of St. Martin’s, the Corso Restaurant at the InterContinental treats guests to a lavish Sunday brunch, set around the festival’s traditional dishes. Liver pâté with cranberry sauce, crackling, smoked meat and rillettes feature, all made of goose, of course. The basic package includes local sparkling wines, soft drinks, coffee and tea. A gourmet upgrade is also available for a wider selection of drinks.


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Cocktails and goose at KIOSK Budapest

Photo: László Balkányi / We Love Budapest

Through 11 November, the menu at cosmopolitan KIOSK extends to crispy goose leg served with cabbage variations, potatoes, foie gras sauce and marjoram. On this occasion, a special cocktail is also created, as the restaurant puts it, to give you goosebumps.


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A whole week of St. Martin’s feasts at Araz

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi / We Love Budapest

Between 11 and 18 November, Araz celebrates the benevolent saint with a wide-ranging à la carte menu particularly created for the St. Martin’s Day celebrations. Goose ragout soup, lentil salad with smoked goose, cholent with stuffed goose neck and the Hungarian “goose feet” chocolate cake are all available to order. A set three-course menu with wine pairings is also on offer.


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