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Preuvenemint 2009: Eatting Our Way Through Maastricht

Right up there with Maastricht’s Carnival, Queens Day in Amsterdam, and a pottery-oogling trip to Delft, Preuvenemint in Maastricht is a “Must Do (at least) Once” event in the Netherlands. This year was our first time to visit so we brought Dan’s parents along to share the experience.

Getting In
Preuvenemint in Maastricht is a yearly culinary event that runs during the last full weekend of August, creating a cap to the end of the vacation and summer season here in the Netherlands. This year that weekend was from August 27th to the 30th. On the weekdays, the Preuvenemint opened at 6 pm for dinner and ran late until about 2 am. On the weekends, the event opened earlier for lunch as well.

Like many large outdoor events, this culinary extravaganza is located on the Vrijhof. They actually began setting up the tents and fences a few days earlier, effectively hiding the square behind metal and plasticized canvas. My in-laws found this to be a little confusing; they didn’t realize that the Vrijhof is usually a wide open square. Still, it is the sort of event you can’t miss. A large crowd of visitors and locals attend the event every year too.

Getting Food

A ticket booklet

A ticket booklet

The Preuvenemint using special tickets instead of cash to pay for your food. Special booths are available at each of the entrances where you can purchase them for 1,80 euros a piece or in a booklet of 10. The cost is somewhat expensive depending on what food you order, but worth it for the experience. We found that drinks (beer & soda) were usually 1 ticket a piece and plates generally ran from 4-10 tickets. Snack food such as waffles and sate was usually 2-3 tickets. Many places allowed you to sit down, so the best course of action is to order your food and then pay with the tickets when the food arrives.
 
Who’s There
music in the gazebo

music in the gazebo

The vendors serving food are mostly local resturants, cafes and hotels; with several Brand beer tents (the same ones that I’ve seen at nearly every event I’ve attended in the Netherlands). Everything from street vendors to CoffeeLovers (a chain cafe) to 5-star hotels were hawking their wares so there seemed to be a little some for everyone. The food varied, but we mostly saw Dutch, French, and Indonesian fare with a couple of Japanese restaurants as well. Of course the other side of this event is advertising for the restaurants. They will serve you the best food than can muster under the circumstances (outdoors & no on-site kitchen) because they want you to come back.
 
There was constant music from the stage set up in front of the gazebo as well. We didn’t specifically check out the music schedule, but during our visits there was a great variety: big band music, Spanish, and 80s tunes, and no doubt some Dutch music as well (but not while we were there).
 
Our Experience
Gary & Dan chow down.

Gary & Dan chow down.

As a group, we mostly went for seafood, starting with oysters and our first taste of Dutch style herring. Yes, tasty on all accounts. We also tried some pork sate (kinda eh) and two forms of mussels. I still prefer steamed to Maastricht-style mussels (in sort of a cream sauce). If you purchased a beer at one of the beer tents, you could carry it around with you, but beverages purchased at a sit down spot need to be consumed while sitting. While we were concerned about the cost of beverages, it wasn’t really an issue.
 
If you attend in a group for the first time, I recommend you do what we did, and share dishes as multiple stops. This way everyone can try something new without duplicating plates. Your tickets will go farther and you’ll get more variety. There were many very nice sitting areas as well, so if you’ve been to Preuvenemint a couple of times, it is probably very nice to relax at one or two locations with a beer or some wine and just take in the experience.
 
Bottom Line
The bottom line is that the Preuvenemint is a tasty, if pricey event. I won’t take every dinner there because of the cost, but it was a fun change to our usual experience and the chance to try some new foods. Go with an open mind and a taste for something different, and you won’t leave disappointed.

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