Utrecht Souvenirs and Hospitality

Utrecht recently won the Dutch award for innovative city marketing thanks to the Utrecht Hospitality (Gastvrij Utrecht) project initiated by Toerisme Utrecht. They won for their “significant contribution to the social and economic vitality of the city.”

The emphasis on drawing tourists to the city has manifest itself in not one but two shops selling souvenirs. There’s the “big” one right on the Oudegracht, just around the corner from the Domtoren (and right next to a “coffee shop”), where you can find all sorts of specifically Utrecht and generally Dutch souvenirs to take home with you. (It’s the shop on the right)souvenirs

But now there’s also the corner news/tobacco/lottery ticket shop on Nobelstraat that has recently added a few classic souvenirs, as well. We’ve obviously hit the big time.souvenirs

This post brought to you with gentle, tongue-in-cheek snark.

Weed Sauce and Fries

Plassend Mannetje
Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction where Vincent and Jules are discussing fast food in Europe, including the fact that the Dutch use mayo on their fries? Well, if Tarantino wants to do an updated version, he can talk about one of the new sauces on offer at Manneken Pis, a famout chain where you can get fries to go.

Manneken Pis is famous for offering a variety of sauces for the fries (frieten/patat) they sell. You can even choose multiple sauces, such as the famous patatje oorlog (war fries), which is usually peanut sauce and mayo, with or without chopped onion. This is more of a traditional Dutch choice, but I suspect the new flavor is going to be a big hit with the tourists. You see, the new sauce is a wietsaus (weed sauce). And no, we’re not talking garden weeds.

However, if you’re looking for a buzz from your fries, think again. It turns out that the hemp flavor used for the sauce contains none of the hallucinogenic elements of THC. All of the earthy flavor, none of the fun. I have to say, the hemp hand lotion I use never makes me particularly hungry when I smell it, but I’m sure someone — gullible tourists? — will go for it. If you want to try, it’s for sale beginning Thursday at the three locations in the center of Utrecht and one in Amsterdam.

Oh, and in other non-appetizing news, Manneken Pis means “little man pee” and is the name for the famous Belgian statue/fountain. Well, the Belgians are famous for their fries. Since I don’t have a photo of the shops in town, I went with the Dick Bruna version of the manneken pis.

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