The tradition of St. Martin – a celebration of food and drink

The tradition of St. Martin – a celebration of food and drink

The day of opening the first St. Martin wines, on 11 November, is approaching fast!

The tradition of St. Martin – a celebration of food and drink
St. Martin's Day, which Czechs celebrate on November 11, is a holiday of good food and drink. Autumn slowly alternates with winter, and it begins to snow. In the past, the economic year was ending at this time, and the landowners were preparing a feast for their people as a form of thanks, when they were also paid out their wages. And what about today? Today, the feast of St. Martin is a great opportunity to bring a little joy to life! Traditionally, fattened geese are roasted on 11 November, and the first bottles of young wine open at exactly 11:11 am. St. Martin wines are fresh and young, as they only have a few weeks to mature. They are very clear and have a lower alcohol content. So join the celebrations, because it's high time to taste what this year has brought!

Young wine in celebration of St. Martin

St. Martin wines are always the first wines of the new vintage. These are fresh and fruity wines, which have matured for only a few weeks, but during this time, they had enough to acquire their distinctive character. For a wine to bear the St. Martin brand, it must be made in the Czech Republic from grapes of the varieties Müller Thurgau, early Roter Veltliner, Moravian Muscat, Blauer Portugieser, Svatovavřinecké (St. Laurent) and Zweigeltrebe and undergo an evaluation by an independent committee. It blind tastes the properties of the wine, such as appearance, aroma, taste, and overall impression of the wine. So if you buy wine with the St. Martin label, you can be sure that you will be getting quality young wine from South Moravia, Mělnicko or other areas in Central or Northern Bohemia.

Svatomartinský košt (St. Martin wine tasting) – start of the celebrations

The Czech association of winemakers, called the Wine Fund (Vinařský Fond), is once again planning the largest tasting of St. Martin wines in the Czech Republic on 11/11 at 11 am on Brno's Náměstí Svobody square. The St. Martin wine tasting traditionally offers 100 samples of St. Martin wines from 100 different winemakers. But you can also look forward to more tastings, i.e. wine tastings and St. Martin’s Day processions throughout the Czech Republic. For example, in the Prague Botanical Garden, in Český Krumlov and in Jihlava.

St. Martin’s Day in restaurants

You can be sure that almost every restaurant around mid-November will be offering its visitors a special St. Martin's Day menu. What does it feature? According to a tradition that has lasted for several centuries, geese were always roasted in the autumn, fresh cabbage was processed, and wine or beer was drunk. And today's restaurants and pubs remain faithful to these basic ingredients. Typically, you will be served liver pâté as an appetizer, followed by a strong broth with liver dumplings and noodles, which the chefs usually leave to simmer overnight, with the main course being roast goose with red or white cabbage and dumplings. And for drinks? You can choose to pair your meal with a St. Martin wines, or you can select from the beer special. In recent years, breweries are trying to outdo themselves, competing on who will brew the best special for the St. Martin's holiday table. Cheers!

If you would like to try roasting a St. Martin's goose yourself, you can find the recipe on our CzechSpecials website.

Festivities in the market, gallery, castle or underground

City markets are not far behind either.  In Prague, you can visit the St. Martin's Day celebrations at the Náplavka market on Rašín's Embankment on 11 November from 11 am. Young wines from Czech and Moravian winemakers, roast geese and other delicacies from this year's harvest will be available for tasting. The programme will be complemented by live music in the form of classical dulcimer or lively swing. In Kutná Hora in Central Bohemia, the St. Martin's Feast will take place directly in GASK, the local famous gallery. On November 12, you can look forward to feasts, wine tastings or traditional folk music, which are all an integral part of any good wine festivities. A folk fair with dulcimer music awaits visitors to Zbiroh Chateau. The St. Martin's Day celebration will take place here on Saturday, 12 November, when the saint himself will appear on horseback. Traditional St. Martin's Day festivities will also take place in Mikulov (11-13 November), Lednice (12 November) or in the unique labyrinth of historic wine cellars in the Valtice Underground (12 November) in South Moravia.