4 memorable food moments from Harry Potter

Category: Reading

This week marks a very important occasion in the world of books. This Wednesday, 31 July, is Harry Potter’s birthday!

Something that’s never really left me about my love for the Harry Potter books is how brilliant the food is. Even in the very first book, you can’t but help be drawn in by these wonderful descriptions of wizard food. From the magical feasts that Molly Weasley conjures up at the Burrow to the amazing cakes and pies baked by the house elves at Hogwarts, everything in these books sounds absolutely delicious.

One of the wonders of Rowling’s style of writing is that she has a real knack for names, coming up with delicious mouthfuls of phrase that really let your imagination run wild. I remember having long drawn out arguments with friends about what Cauldron Cakes really taste like or what exactly constitutes a Fizzing Whizbee.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, there are now people who spend inordinate amounts of time recreating the food from the Harry Potter books and then sharing it with the rest of us. So to celebrate the birth of the boy who lived, I thought I would take you through some of the best food moments from Harry Potter, and the recipes you can try yourself at home (no magic necessary).

chocolate frog box
The Hogwarts Express Food Trolley, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

This is the first time we hear about food from the wizard world, and it is quite the introduction.

“What she did have were Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Liquorice Wands, and a number of other strange things Harry had never seen in his life” Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The amazing bloggers over at Fictional Food have recreated Chocolate Frogs almost perfectly with this recipe, complete with a gorgeous box!

The other thing that I will always remember from journeys on the Hogwarts Express is the regular appearance of ‘ice cold pumpkin juice’. Now, when I actually think about it, pumpkin juice seems pretty gross, but something about the way J.K. Rowling describes it always has me wishing I could try it! I may try to make my own with help from this recipe over at Cook Fiction.

Butterbeer 

Glasses of Butterbeer
Full disclosure: I hate beer. And I don’t particularly like anything butterscotch flavoured. But there’s something about Butterbeer – maybe it’s the fact that it’s served warm, that it is always frothing and generally in a tankard, that just makes me want to drink it. I think this is where the magic of literature really shines through – the power of a good description lets you create something perfect to you.

Sadly, I have tried one of the iterations of real life Butterbeer, at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, and be warned, it is not pleasant. Harry Potter Cooking has a selection of recipes for your own, brewed-at-home Butterbeer, but this one seems like the most authentic as it is intended to be served warm.

Hogwarts Great Hall Feast
The Great Hall at Hogwarts

No one can deny that the food they put on at Hogwarts sounds absolutely brilliant, even though it is produced in slightly less than ethical surroundings (house elves, anyone?). By the time Harry settles into school, the rich meals at Hogwarts become a regular part of the books, but his wonder at the food at his first meal at Hogwarts isn’t easy to forget.

“He had never seen so many things he liked to eat on one table: roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes, fries, Yorkshire pudding, peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup, and, for some strange reason, peppermint humbugs.’’  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

J.K. Rowling really enjoys listing vast numbers of different kinds of food, in a way that sets your stomach rumbling as you read. I am starting to get hungry just writing this blog post. The actual food itself at the Hogwarts table doesn’t have any magical properties though, so if you are trying to recreate this, you’re better off trying for a fancy roast dinner!

Honeydukes sweet shop, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Honeydukes
No nod to the foods of Harry Potter would be complete without mentioning Honeydukes, the big daddy of magical sweetshops. Honeydukes has everything in it, from the exotic (Jelly Slugs?) to the downright gross (blood-flavoured lollipops).

Ron has a great description of Honeydukes early on in book three, which really captures the excitement and the magical treats within:

“'It's this sweetshop,' said Ron, a dreamy look coming over his face, 'where they've got everything... Pepper Imps -- they make you smoke at the mouth -- and great fat Chocoballs full of strawberry mousse and clotted cream, and really excellent sugar quills, which you can suck in class and just look like you're thinking what to write next.'’’ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azbakan.

You can now go to Honeydukes at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida; however, there are also now recipes for Sugar Quills, Pepper Imps and Fizzing Whizbees online so you can live out your Honeyduke’s fantasies at home!

Even though I have outgrown my ability to eat an entire pack of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans (or regular jelly beans), my love for the food in Harry Potter has stayed with me as I have grown up, and I love going back and reading all about them, whenever I get a bit peckish. On that note, I’m off to eat a Chocolate Frog.  

What are your favourite foods from the Harry Potter series and have you ever tried to recreate them at home? Let us know in the comments below!

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