Story of the export of goose-liver

In Hungary goose breeding and fattening has a tradition of several centuries. One of the oldest written record of this can be read in paragraph 19 of the decree issued by the Hungarian king Ladislaus II in 1514 on the goose takings imposed on helots:

"...furthermore they should give their lords 2 geese a year, namely 1 young for the celebration of Pentecost and an older one on the day of bishop St. Martin and confessor ..."

The first reliable data regarding Hungarian goose liver export are from 1870. Anton Hirschfeld established his company, Erster Ă–sterreich-Ungarn Gaensebeberexport in that year. They arranged the procurement in Budapest and GalgĂłc, while in Vienna, Strasbourg and Paris the sales were conducted.

As earlier data provision was not compulsory in Hungary we have detailed information about the evolution of our goose liver export since 1881. The order of magnitude of the first authentic data makes it likely that before the activity of the Hirchfield company, our country did not have a significant export. While in 1882 only 27 tons of goose liver was exported annually, in 1889 it was 100 tons a year already and in 1938 even 497 tons of goose liver was sold abroad.

Evolution of the Hungarian goose liver exportĂ­


Before World War II the Hungarian goose processing companies did not do goose drawing, they exported their products as goose with bowels. It follows that the export significantly exceeded the quantity indicated in the statistics. In 1938 besides the 50 weight wagons of goose liver, which is considered a record amount, according to estimations further 18-20 wagons of goose liver in geese with bowels left the country. 75-85% of the total export went to France, the rest got to the menu of German restaurants. At that time - although to a slight extent - canned goose liver production also existed in the country. The Weiss Manfréd canning factory and some other small plants dealt with their production. We do not have data from the years 1939 - 1944, the amount of export decreased significantly and the main stream was shifted to Germany. Due to the economic and political measures after the war the export decreased further and in 1956 altogether only 28 tons of goose liver was exported.

However, since the 60s goose liver again became a popular export product, the desire to produce intensified and the export continuously began to grow. The master breeding stock was established serving the base for production, which was grounded on the Hungarian goose species. This is a very good liver provider species, which established the worldwide fame of the Hungarian goose liver.

The great professional experience in fattening goose liver gained in decades, the unique observation of the behaviour of the animals, the precise, well-organised household fattening in small herds allowed the Hungarian goose liver to be an excellent, world-famous product.