Harry Potter turns 20 this year. Not Harry Potter the boy, but Harry Potter the book. “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” took readers, and later moviegoers, to a magical world full of incredible detail, rich imagery, and even wizard food! So in honor of the 20th anniversary of “Harry Potter,” here is my list for the five best foods from J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world.
5. Skiving Snackbox
In “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” Fred and George Weasley create a box full of candies and sweets that make the eater appear sick. This was the ultimate means to get out of class. Fever Fudge almost instantly gives you a high fever, perfect for a pass to the nurse’s office. The Fainting Fancies make you, well faint. Then there is the Nosebleed Nougat that instantly gives the eater a nosebleed.
The good news is that there is always a second part to the sweet that counteracts the sickness. That ensures the effects are just temporary enough to get you out of class, but not long enough to ruin your day afterward. Genius!
4. Chocolate Frogs
As Harry takes his first trip to Hogwarts in “The Sorcerer’s Stone,” he bonds with Ron Weasley over a snack trolley. A woman pushing a cart full of candy, snacks, and other sweet treats knocks on the door of Harry’s compartment. He buys a treasure trove of wizarding world candy. One of those is a chocolate frog. Harry opens the pentagon-shaped box and piece of chocolate in the shape of a frog jumps out, onto the window and out of the train. It turns out that chocolate frogs are also the baseball cards of Harry Potter’s world. Each box has a card of a famous wizard or witch in a trippy, 3-D, hologram-type picture.
3. Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans
Thanks to the miracles of modern movie merchandising, this is a Harry Potter food you can actually buy. Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans are the wizard’s jelly beans. Sure, there’s chocolate, strawberry, and coconut, but Bertie also made grass, spinach, tripe, and booger-flavored beans, just to name a few. These are pretty good favors to give away at a kid’s birthday party. They’ll love them, and hate them. The soap flavor is the worst.
2. Knickerbocker Glory
This is actually a real food that happened to get featured in the Harry Potter stories, but it’s so tasty, I couldn’t pass up the chance to mention it. Knickerbocker Glory is a British version of an ice cream sundae. Layered into a tall, conical sundae glass you’ll find ice cream, fruit, nuts, cream, syrups, and jellies. For adults, they can even include alcohol. In “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Dudley Dursley, Harry’s home menace, eats one at the zoo for his birthday trip. Thankfully there are plenty of Knickerbocker Glories you can make yourself. The BBC’s food site has a good recipe, and if you’re ever in London, try the Glory at The Parlour at Fortnum & Mason.
You knew number one was going to be Butterbeer! The wizard’s brew of choice, Butterbeer was initially described by Rowling as “a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch.” For much of the last 20 years there was no official recipe for the greatest of Harry Potter foods. People would make their own, and movie theaters, like the Alamo Drafthouse here in Austin, would make a batch of their take on Butterbeer you could frink while watching one of the movies.
I own a special commemorative glass that was filled to the brim with Butterbeer for one of the later movies at a midnight showing. Now through the magic of movie merchandising there is Butterbeer that you can enjoy at Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The chef of Universal Orlando, who was tasked with creating an official Butterbeer recipe (in conjunction with Rowling, of course), said he wanted to craft a drink that everyone would enjoy, “something that would feel mystical and whimsical and magical, but that also resembled a beer, with a beautiful base, amber color, and creamy top. It had to taste unfamiliar, yet soothing and smooth. I thought of those soft butter cookies, or butterscotch, and that’s what the recipe is based off of. But everyone tastes it differently — some say cookies, some say creamsicles. It’s a magical beverage like that.”
So next time you sit down to watch one of the Harry Potter movies or read one of the books, make yourself a Knickerbocker Glory, grab a bag of Every Flavor Beans, and try your hand at making Butterbeer. It will make your trip to that already immersive world that much better.