The ancient feast day of Michaelmas Day, which occurs on 29 September – except for Suffolk on 4 October and for Norfolk on 11 October – has always been a traditional time to eat the bird and there has been a steady build-up in demand from pubs and restaurants during this period, say producers.
British Goose Producers chairperson and goose producer Judy Goodman said: “Traditionally, the Michaelmas geese would have gleaned on the stubble fields after harvest. We rear them on grass and wheat today, and achieve the leaner type of geese, without their winter coats, that are so delicious at this time of the year.”
A number of restaurants, including The Talbot inn in Knightwick, Worcestershire, say they will be increasing the period goose is on the menu this year.
The Talbot manager Annie Clift said she responded to demand two years ago and will put Michaelmas goose on the menu for a whole week rather than a single day.
“We run our menu like a 19th century farmhouse kitchen. That means taking full advantage of food that’s in season and we’ll probably be serving 100 to 150 goose meals during our Michaelmas week,” she said.
Proprietor of the Brace of Pheasants in Dorset Phil Bennett added that he has introduced goose to the menu at Michaelmas and serves slices of smoked goose on a confit. “This makes a fantastic dish. Each year more of our customers discover what a special treat a goose provides.”