I'll leave it to Amanda to explain what Preuvenement is. Suffice it to say that this, being my first year in Maastricht, was not to be missed. I wouldn't call myself a real foodie, but being able to sample things from all of the fancy-schmancy restaurants in Maastricht was irresistable.
At least, in my head: For whatever reason I was under the impression that it would be all finger foods, relatively cheap, so that you could nosh on it while walking around to see what else there was to sample. I'd pictured an elaborate setup of counters all over the Vrijthof, with all of the little eateries and restuarants of Maastricht vying for people to come try their stuff and generally getting their name out.
However, this being the Netherlands, I really should have known better: In the first place, I had not anticipated that the well-established restaurants of Maastricht (i.e., Beluga or that one oyster bar, where you spend more on food at one meal than I do in a month) would be there, and nor did I expect mini-restaurants, complete with seating, teenage waiters, and epic wait times (reduced, for this occasion, to merely "slow to an American").
Although I had been warned in advance that it wasn't cheap, I still got a bit of sticker shock when I saw how many tickets food and drinks cost. I'm not exactly a tightwad, but still--2 tickets, or €3.60, for a mini-puntzak of frites was a bit much to handle. We eventually came back to that establishment for dessert (which was more worthwhile) but in the meantime we elected to spend our tickets at the mini-Sofa restaurant, a place that specialized in Middle Eastern food.
The quantities that were served were less than impressive, even for Dutch standards. I didn't expect a full meal, of course, but the mini-wrap that I ended up with was pathetic. Said micro-wrap also did not advertise that it contained chicken, something I did not realize before I ate my first bite (i.e., half of the wrap). I suppose I should have known based on the appearance, but I just don't cook that much meat, and whatever I do cook usually ends up looking, well, not-like anything. Moreover, it's all for my boyfriend (at least, whatever the kitties don't blackmail him out of), so I really hadn't the slightest idea what was in it until I ate it. At which point, well, I'd paid for it, and half of it was gone.
But even that was all right: if you know your money goes towards charities it makes getting gauged a little easier to swallow, and there were also a substantial number of cheaper eats there as well, sans seating. The one thing I can't stand is loud music, and this Preuvenement had in abandon. I mean, you're immersed in a roaring crowd edging to get drinks and food to begin with--adding a bunch of typically Dutch (and not in a good, Ilse-de-Lange or Marco-Borsato* way) music pumped at earthquake-inducing volumes, makes me reconsider my PhD for a Master's in Explosives.
Most surprising was how stylin' the people were. We saw a lot of suits that night, and fancy dresses. I suppose if you're the kind of person who goes to an oyster bar--yes, there was one of those--you're also the kind of person who wears a suit and a cocktail dress. And if you're the kind of person who recognizes that Beluga is a Michelin-starred restaurant, then you'd probably think 5 lappen for the honor of having their bouillabaise is a fair deal, but only if you're wearing stilettoes and fighting to keep your coiff from getting soaked in the rain.
In spite of all this it was quite an enjoyable experience, and one that I will (gods willing) happily undertake again. It wasn't so much the food, but the company, that made it worthwhile.
*That I consider Marco Borsato one of the better singers just goes to show how bad "typcially Dutch" music is.