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Michaelmas goose revives Trafalgar memories

by 5m Editor
28 September 2005, at 12:00am

UK - The tradition of eating goose at Michaelmas takes on a special significance this year - the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Michaelmas goose revives Trafalgar memories - UK - The tradition of eating goose at Michaelmas takes on a special significance this year - the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Lord Nelson's birthday fell on September 29, Michaelmas Day, and when he invited his captains to dine with him on HMS Victory on his 47th (and last) birthday, he used the occasion to explain his plans for the coming battle with the combined French and Spanish fleets.

Although details of the menu are not known, it is highly likely that goose formed the main dish, Nelson having joined the fleet on the previous day with fresh provisions on board. In the admiral's time, roast goose was the favoured dish served on occasions of remembrance or revelry and they were then more plentiful than any other type of poultry.

In more recent times, a decline in the popularity of geese has been reversed. As more people look for something a little special to serve for a celebratory meal, British goose producers are in a strong position to meet the growing demand.

The season of the goose begins at the end of September when the earliest hatched birds come into their prime. Having been reared largely on plentiful summer pasture, the Michaelmas bird is often known as the 'green goose'. It is perhaps leaner and subtly different in flavour to those going to market in December.

Whenever chosen, the consumer appeal of a goose is enhanced by its lifestyle - typically reared in the open air on grass or sometimes corn stubble, brought into the farmyard at night for protection from foxes and fed on locally grown wheat.

Those familiar with the succulence and distinct flavour of goose meat will agree that it is a fitting dish to serve to those wishing to honour the memory of Lord Nelson during the coming months.

Source: British Goose Producers Association - 28th September 2005

5m Editor