I'll help you find a great place to enjoy a deliciously authentic one
Nothing says Advent, Christmas and European Winter more than a well cooked goose, red cabbage and dumplings.
Anyone coming to Europe for a Christmas market cruise needs to venture out for a goose dinner to truly know what Advent is all about. Some of the best places to experience this culinary tradition are in the beer gardens or wine taverns which serve traditional goose dinner during the entire season and from November 11th, St Martin's Day thru to Christmas.
But where does this tradition come from you ask? St Martin was a Roman soldier who, according to legend, cut his cloak into two and gave half of it to a beggar who was suffering in the freezing temperatures. That night Martin had a dream in which he saw Jesus wearing the piece of the cloak he had given to the beggar and when he woke up the cloak had been restored. Martin later became bishop and even saint, and he is revered as the patron saint of beggars, as well as a patron of children.
The tradition of eating goose has several explanations, but the best one is connected to how Martin became bishop. According to the legend, St Martin was hiding in a stable to escape from the church messengers who wanted to elect him as bishop; a flock of geese gave away his hiding spot so he was found. so today we eat a goose as symbolic punishment.
So where to have this lovely treat?
While there are PLENTY of places to go have your goose dinner some of the best establishments are the beer halls and wine heuriger along the Danube in Vienna, Salzburg, Passau, and Regensburg. Prague, too!
Since you have the opportunity for free time while in Vienna, why not skip going back to the ship for lunch and find somewhere for a good goose feast! We usually stop in at Gösser Bierklinik, Griechenbeisl, or Winklers Zum Posthorn or take the tram out to Grinzing.
In Regensburg I always go to Kneittinger, in Salzburg to St. Peter Stiftskulinarium, and in Munich the Augustiner Keller are all reliably delicious!
If you are on a Rhine cruise head over to Früh Kölsch Brauerei or Weinstube Bacchus in Köln or Lindenwirt in Rüdesheim.