Lekker Utregs

Lekker Utregs
After being housebound for five days thanks to a vicious cold, I was feeling better today and headed out briefly to Neude to check out Lekker Utregs. It’s a festival celebrating regionally produced food, grown by everyone from balcony gardeners to professionals.

It was a nice mix of stalls selling their wares — vegetables, meat, honey, jams, cheese — as well as more interactive displays, including a chance to learn how to milk a cow, or should I say a “cow”.
Lekker Utregs
There was also a small petting zoo for kids, with a small pony, some sheep, a goat, a couple of rabbits, and some fluffy chickens who looked suspiciously like one of our neighbors.

There was also a display of “extreme groenten”, showcasing some of the more impressive and unusual vegetables locals have grown.
Lekker UtregsIf all the food was making you hungry, some of the stalls had some free samples. I particularly enjoyed the fenugreek cheese. In addition, there were food trucks and other stalls set up offering burgers, pizza, desserts, and pancakes to sate your appetite.

It wasn’t all food, though. There were a few musical performances, and in the center of the square stood an art piece by Utrecht wood artist Jules Enneking, which turned the Domtoren into festive tree.
Lekker UtregsNumerous events were planned for throughout the day, including discussions and debates about the value and importance of local food sourcing. All in all, it was a nice way to ease my way back into life in Utrecht.
Lekker Utregs

As a side note, unfortunately, my camera is having issues, so photos were limited (and others disappeared) that better represented the event. Think positive thoughts that it can be easily and cheaply fixed!

Utrechts Mosselfestival 2013

Utrechts Mosselfestival 2013
Are you in or near Utrecht? You have until this evening to enjoy some delicious mussels, oysters, wine and beer at the annual Utrechts Mosselfestival on Lucasbolwerk. The weather has cooperated so far and we got to stop by for a brief period today to see the official opening while devouring the mussels and enjoying a beer from local brewery De Leckere.

Utrechts Mosselfestival 2013
As well as the food and drink, which can be enjoyed sitting on any of the terraces of the four organizing cafés and restaurants, there are two springkussen (bouncy castles) for kids, and there has been singing from a local men’s choir. The official opening was brief, but included an “ode” to mussels and Utrecht, from what I picked out. Unfortunately, I missed the name of the gentleman who wrote/performed it.
Utrechts Mosselfestival 2013
As for the men’s choir, the 30 members perform under the name Tusken Waat en Wild. They performed a mix of Dutch and English language classics, ranging from Utereg M’n Stadsie to Let It Be.
Utrechts Mosselfestival 2013
However, my favorite was probably their rendition of Oh! Susanna. That’s such an American classic, one which lots of Americans probably grow up singing, so there’s something wonderfully charming and funny hearing it being sung at a mussels festival in Utrecht.
Utrechts Mosselfestival 2013
The festival continues to grow each year. The tents for the food and drink were bigger and fancier and there were two springkussen instead of one as in past years. The food and drink remains consistently good each year, so it’s a pleasure to see this neighborhood event succeed. If you can’t make it this year, plan on attending next year! Dogs and children welcome.
Utrechts Mosselfestival 2013
Utrechts Mosselfestival 2013
Utrechts Mosselfestival 2013
Utrechts Mosselfestival 2013
Utrechts Mosselfestival 2013

Mussels and Time Travel

lucasbolwerk1992(photo via Het Utrechts Archief)

This isn’t quite the usual Time Travel post that I usually do. Despite appearances, this photo of Lucasbolwerk (left) and surrounding streets only dates back to 1992. Overall, the street and buildings haven’t changed that much in the past 20 years; it’s the sidewalk bits that have migrated a bit and that tree on the front left isn’t there now.

To be honest though, the street didn’t look much different 100 years before that, either.
lucasbolwerk1890(photo via Het Utrechts Archief)

That was then, this is now (well, the photos are from 2011 anyway):
Mosselfestival Site

Tilt
Today, it’s still an active street, although there is very little auto traffic, since it’s now a dead-end street and there are only a few parking spaces. There’s plenty of bicycle traffic, though, and this is the street where the weekly Friday skate night begins in the summer. It is also the location of the annual Mosselfestival.

In fact, the Utrechts Mosselfestival takes place this Sunday, 25 August, from 14-22:00. There will be delicious mussels, of course, and most likely some oysters, as well. Plus, local brewery De Leckere will be on hand, along with some local wine merchants. The event is hosted by Horeca Lucas Bolwerk, which is made up of Café de Potdeksel, Café de Stad, Tilt, and Zocher. They’ll all be open, as well, so feel free to stop by and enjoy their offerings and terraces. In fact, bring the whole family; there’s even a bouncy castle (springkussen) for the kids. Most importantly, try the mussels. They’re cooked in a traditional Zeeland manner and are heel lekker!

Utrecht’s Mosselfestival

Het Utrechts Mosselfestival! Zondag 26 Augustus
If you can get to Utrecht on Sunday afternoon (26 August) and you like mussels, head to Lucasbolwerk (over by the Stadsschouwburg) for the second Mosselfestival. The cafés in the area (De Potdeksel, Tilt, De Stad, and Zocher) are hosting an outdoor festival with Zeeuwse mussels, and local wine and beer. A good-size portion of mussels costs just €3.50.

We went last year and were very impressed with how nicely the mussels were cooked, with a perfect blend of seasoning. De Leckere beer will also be on hand again, so you can probably drink a Wittevrouwen bier next to Wittevrouwenstraat.

The event starts at noon and Utrecht writer Jerry Goossens will officially open the festival at 14:00. The event lasts until approximately 20:00. There will also be a bouncy castle for the kids to play. You can find more information at utrechtsmosselfestival.nl. Hopefully the weather will cooperate!

Lecker Eten Leckere Bier

Fun with Mussels

Bubble Bubble
As I mentioned Sunday, we were planning on heading out to the first (of many, hopefully) Mosselfestival right here in our own neighborhood. Horeca Lucas Bolwerk (a collection of bars and cafés in the neighborhood) organized this lovely mussels festival. It ran for about seven hours in total and seemed to have a fairly constant stream of attendees. We went shortly after 2 p.m. and were immediately struck by the delicious smells emanating from the pots of cooking mussels.
Lecker Eten Leckere Bier
We soon grabbed a couple of portions, which were quite generous, and picked up a couple of beers from the De Leckere Brewery stall. The mussells were beautifully seasoned and cooked. Just a nice kick of pepper and lots of natural flavor. I was really impressed with just how well they were done for such an event.
Mosselfestival
The street was closed to traffic, so they were able to set out lots of tables on the street, each table with its own garbage bag to keep things neat and clean. There was an accordion player wandering among the tables, and there was a bouncy castle for kids to play in. Sadly, there were no special play areas for the dogs we saw there. They were kept entertained by the possibility of stray mussels, I guess!
Mag Ik Een Mossel?

Hondje

Entertainment
I joked with G that I guess this was a bit like a Dutch version of a crawfish boil or a New England clam bake. The women working at the mussels stall were all wearing old-fashioned lace caps — along with t-shirts and jeans! It was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine and a nice breeze, and by the end of the day, all the trash was cleaned up and neatly piled away for the garbage collectors the next morning. All in all, it seemed like a success.
Service with a Smile

Scoop

Gezellig

Remains of the day #mosselfestival

Mosselfestival

Mosselfestival
This would have been more useful if I’d posted it before today, but hey, if you’re in Utrecht today and want some mussels and tasty beer (De Leckere brouwerij) and wine, come on over to the eastern edge of town today for the Mosselfeest, organized by some of the cafés and restaurants on Lucas Bolwerk. The festival started at noon, but the official opening is at 2 p.m. and the event runs until 7 p.m. The street is blocked off to traffic, so you can wander around and enjoy the food and the scenery along the Wittevrouwensingel and you can stop in at Café de Potdeksel, Café de Stad, Tilt Café or Brasserie Zocher throughout it all. We’re heading over in half an hour or so (we’ll be recording Wimbledon to watch later). Oh, and kids are welcome. They’ve got a bouncy castle, too.