Gosh I hope so, because I'll be there again in late April as well. Now for some really exciting stuff. BJCool at www.orlandounited.com
has kindly posted this. Isn't it amazing info?
The Leaky Cauldron has released their second of the three reports we were promised!!!!
Presenting the second (of three-ish) parts of our report of Leaky's preview of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Tonight at 7pm Eastern, join us in PotterCast's LiveStream, where we will talk about this and our previous report of the Hogwarts and the Forbidden Journey attraction; you can ask questions and more, so we'll see you there! Meanwhile read on, and maybe make sure your next meal is not too far off before you begin...
By Melissa Anelli
All right. Enough about the attractions and how much it looks like Hogwarts and the sparkle of the fake snow and the crooked turrets and the bootlegged images over which we've all been drooling over like starved pomeranians.
This is about the food.
During last week's attraction preview Leaky had a sampling of nearly everything that will be offered in the Three Broomsticks restaurant/pub. (We mean it: nearly everything. We walked in like normal people and ambled out, carting our bellies in front of us in wheelbarrows and planning endless sets of crunches.)
Some quick facts:
The food is prepared on the premises. Universal has gone to the lengths of installing a slow roaster (because Orlando isn't hot enough) in the back to create a home-cooked style.
We don't know what any of it will cost yet.
The food was presented to us very excitedly by Ric Florrel, Senior VP of Food and Merch, and Stephen Jayson, the head chef.
It replicates food found in the books pretty faithfully (in some cases unbelievably so)
There are options for children (all kids' meals under 300 calories) and vegetarians (no Vegetarian Meal per se, but there's a Mac and Cheese option and a Potato Leek soup that may even be vegan friendly)
Butterbeer and pumpkin juice will blow your mind. The butterbeer was selected by J.K. Rowling out of a number of variations. More on that below.
The food features some fried and comfort food but the menu is mostly made up of things you might find on a Weasley dinner table.
Butterbeer is not alcoholic, but there will be a Hog's Head Ale that is exclusive to the park, and in fact exclusive to the Hog's Head Pub (more on that later in the month of April). The tap for it featured a 3-D hog snout. You can only get it there.
Pumpkin juice will be bottled and sold; butterbeer will not.
It was "really important that it was food that looked like it walked out of the Harry Potter books," said Thierry Coup (VP, Universal Creative).
And with that we bring you everything we can possibly remember:
Butterbeer: It's like cream soda plus shortbread cookies plus… plus something. When the (nonalcoholic; there is no alcoholic version) butterbeer is poured, the barkeep applies the foam separately. The foam makes frothy foam mustaches that you'll lick off your top lip like it's your job. It must have some yeast, because it kept replicating itself in the glass as the butterbeer below it diminished. It's a whole separate taste, much thicker than the butterbeer below it, and fuller in flavor, almost like a creamed gingerbread cookie. It's served in a plastic stein that you return (that says "Butterbeer" on it), but souvenir steins will be available to purchase.
Pumpkin juice: Like apple and pumpkin pie in a crisp and summery drink. Lots of hints of cinnamon and honey and autumnal spices that somehow feel like something you could easily drink in the one-billion-degree weather of Orlando in July.
The Great Feast: One food option is a Great Feast, which claims to serve a family of four but could probably stretch to five or six. A trough - I mean - platter of food, it contains several huge ears of corn, at least four large, roasted bits of chicken, four servings of ribs, seasoned and roasted vegetables, and seasoned potatoes. It was this more than anything that we could not believe was being prepared at a theme park.
Fish and Chips: Properly British, and by all accounts the fish inside the crusty container was of a quality few had experienced (even the Brit sitting next to me thought so).
Other options included: Shepherd's pie (comes in a little ceramic container, very tasty - the pie, that is, not the ceramic container, although certainly if seasoned- all right, that joke's gone on long enough); a chicken salad; heaps of vegetables; cornish pasties (twice the size that would be considered "bite" size, a nice small option),
Dessert: Seriously, folks, you might want to plan two trips on two separate days, because if you think your stomach can handle all of that food and then miss out on a dessert table that seems to have marched right out of the bakery section of Honeydukes, YOU ARE WRONG. For starters, they made Strawberry and Peanut Butter Ice Cream. Ten points if you didn't get to this sentence before remembering where that appears in the books: yep, die hards, in the second book, Harry buys this for himself and Ron and Hermione, and if you read it and thought, "Um, what kind of weirdo wizard thing is that?" you were not alone. And that was everyone's initial reaction - "Really? They made strawberry and peanut butter ice cream? Really? That's just silly." Silly must be the new freaking-delicious because it was the best thing on the menu and something I would spend a whole day's calories on if given the chance. I don't even like strawberry ice cream on its own. This, however, with bits of peanut butter and vanilla dancing around inside - this was great.
Cauldron Cakes: Leaky Cauldron readers, we have waited for this for years. Cauldron Cakes. Big, stand-on-their-own, chocolate spongy canisters leaking - exploding, more like - gooey chocolate fondue something-or-other that may or may not be a substance I wish covered everything. (Smart money's on "may.") The hard chocolate handle sticking out of the top and the clear sugared bubbles in the middle really made it art.
A few bites of each of those, after a few bites of each of everything else at lunch, had us all feeling pretty droopy. Somehow, somehow, through sheer persistence and moral fiber, we summoned the courage to do our sworn duty as Harry Potter webmeisters and reach for…
…the treacle tart (gummy, creamy, a cherry inside) and the apple tart (like an apple crumble), and the tiny pumpkin pies. There was more - cookies, some amazing looking thing with strawberries in a cup under several strata of chocolate - but at this point it was a safe bet that diabetic coma wasn't far off and we should try and get out of there with our pride and more or less at our current body weight.
Just think...we haven't even been to Honeydukes yet.
(On that note, Leaky is proud to announce its Hogwartsercise class, premiering at LeakyCon 2011...)
And MuggleNet has released their second of the three reports we were promised!!!!
This is the second of three reports to be published stemming from a recent visit to Universal Studios in Orlando, FL where several Harry Potter fan-sites were invited to partake in some behind-the-scenes special events. The first report contained an interview with the man foremost behind the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park and his description of its feature ride, "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" - as well as a special tour we were given through its queue. Although that report answered long-standing questions about the most-anticipated ride in the park, I feel that this report details what will be the Wizarding World's knockout punch to fans and non-fans everywhere: the food.
On our recent trip to Universal, we met with Richard Florell who is the senior VP of Food and Merchandise for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. He brought food with him. It was the food that they will serve in the Harry Potter theme park when it opens on June 18th.
Note: later today it is expected that a full menu of food and drink available in the HP theme park will be released by Universal Studios as per a prior understanding between them and us. Although pictures of the food itself are not at this time available, we expect that such images are forthcoming.
There is really only one way to summarize what is going to be said in this review: try the food. All of it. Then have some more. It'll do you good.
Our first taste off the Wizarding World's menu was the storied butterbeer. It had been reported previously that, in order to create butterbeer for the park, a long and complicated process was taken which resulted in J.K. Rowling herself sitting down with five flaggons of potential butterbeer and being able to decide which recipe was "the one." So we were really excited when Mr. Florrel told us we'd be having some. Sure enough, a moment later we each had a mug of the amber liquid, topped off with a white fuzz and even bubbling slightly, in our hands. A few of us raised our glass and opted to toast "Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived" (I'm proud to say I prompted that one) and then we drank.
It was thick, the fuzz, then rich, then colder and thinner at the bottom. A few more drinks and I was sure that the substance I was drinking was from another world. I don't know how they did it, but the butterbeer feels like it changes density as you drink. It's chilled, too - the butterbeer will be kept just above 32 degrees when it is served in the park. As for the taste, it is described as a cross between "butterscotch and shortbread" - I think that's probably accurate. I'll also say that I've become a fan of a personal homemade butterbeer recipe involving creme soda, rum and schnapps - but this, a non alcoholic beverage for park guests of all ages, far closer matches what is likely served in Hogsmeade of literature. What surprised me was that, the more I drank, the more I liked it. It is a solid beverage, a solid "brew" if you will, that has a consistent taste and is not too sweet or strange. It holds its flavor the whole way through, and let me just say the cream on top is excellent for giving the drinker a butterbeer moustache. I'm finding difficulty in describing it more, except to say that it must be tried and will not disappoint.
A frozen 'icee' version of the butterbeer will also be available in the park. After finishing our butterbeer, we tried it, too. It really is a testament to how solid a drink is, when you can make a frozen version of it accentuating the flavor that doesn't completely ruin it. The frozen butterbeer was just as good a treat and will definitely benefit on those really hot July days in Florida. I have no doubt that both the butterbeer and its frozen rendition will have guests piling in from the rest of the Islands of Adventure park to try it. Once they are there, of course, they'll be stuck I suspect.
The butterbeer was only the first item off the menu that we tried. There was much, much more.
Within the next few minutes we saw all of the dishes that would be served inside the park. Overall impressions were that the meals are balanced - containing salad to offset the meat and vice versa. They've taken the food mentioned by J.K. Rowling in her books and broken it down into several plates of yum. For main courses, the park will be serving British-themed food using European recipes: shepherd's pie, fish and chips, Cornish pasties and leek soup. Other dishes such as chicken and ribs and corn will be served. The head chef of the Harry Potter park, Mr. Stephen Jayson, also has some specialist equipment to work with. We were told that, in the kitchen of the Three Broomsticks, they have a smoke machine for the meat and a corn smoker for cooking corn fresh (while it's still in the husk!).
In what is such a good idea I have separated it by starting a new paragraph, the park will serve a meal called "The Big Feast" - which is a platter designed for four people - consisting of half chickens, ribs, sweet potatoes and corns on the cob. This "big feast" platter is what the fan-site heads were treated to. As well as the salad and fish and chips. Four people will be very thoroughly satisfied with this meal. Even two of our friends who flew to Universal from overseas (one British, one Irish) were impressed at the authenticity of the European-style foods. They were raving about the sweet potatoes!
My first foray into British cuisine was some fish and chips I had at a pub in Stratford-upon-Avon (birthplace of William Shakespeare) in June of 2006. The fish and chips I had there were served alongside the famous local cider, which I was surprised to learn is an ale, and not a beverage resembling "apple cider" that I enjoy at my family's Thanksgiving dinner. The relevance of this story as it pertains to this report comes with my surprise as I began to have the Hogsmeade style fish-and-chips, and was presented with Hogsmeade's brand pumpkin juice.
The pumpkin juice, also served cold and quite refreshing, is also a unique beverage constructed by the culinary geniuses at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. I mention apple cider because it is the only thing I can think of to compare it to. It does for pumpkin what apple cider does for apples. It is a sweet, delightful drink that tastes of cinammon and ginger, pumpkin eccentuated and my, oh my is it tasty. This is another beverage you just have to try to believe. Harry and his friends at Hogwarts have pumpkin juice during their feast, and so too did we at our tasting of the food. The two together made for a truly authentic experience that is sure to be unreal once it can take place inside a finished wizarding world theme park.
Some Harry Potter fans throughout the years have felt that there was a bigger mystery in the Potter books than the secret behind He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. They wanted to know how Harry and his friends could eat so much and not suffer from obesity or diabetes. It was with special care on his face that Mr. Florrel told us there would be kids portions of all of the dishes offered in the park, and that each of them (Fish and Chips, chicken with salad, etc...) were under 300 calories. It is so evident, the planning and care that went into this menu, that my ability to describe my encounter with this food may fall short. However, hopefully in reading you can tell that these meals were prepared with the guests' delight and health as the number one concern.
Ah, yes. Desert.
There was a quote used in my previous report which stated that "not a meeting was held without all seven Potter books in the room, and not a decision was made without them present." This quote actually belongs to Richard Florrel, and he was speaking of the food served in the park. Ric actually had three of his books with him while we were eating, and we saw that they were place-marked with post-its as thin as toothpicks and color-coded. I presume that each of those flags was a reference to food or drink in the Harry Potter books, and Ric said that he can track every one and has gotten to know them fairly well. Being the VP of food and merchandise, it was likely Ric's choice of which sweets and goodies to bring to life. From our experience tasting a wide variety of the deserts after our stunning meal of salad, ribs, potatoes, corn and chicken, I have to say he's done an alarming job.
Strawberry-peanut-butter ice cream. Okay. This one presented a particular challenge to the wizaring world theme park chefs, we were told: "How best to do it, that was a concern. It's strawberry, and it's peanut butter, and it's in the Harry Potter books and Rowling says they eat it. Well, okay then. Let's try to make it." The strawberry peanut butter ice cream is realized in the Potter theme park and is better than you'd think just by reading about it. It far surpasses any ice cream with peanut butter chunks I've had from a supermarket (not that that should come as a surprise this far along in my report), and is a solid example of a one-of-the-kind experience awaiting Potter fans everywhere.
Cauldron cakes, like chocolate cupcakes only molded like real cauldrons, are an example of the finesse in practice at the Wizarding World's kitchen. They're cauldrons with a handle overtop - I don't know how they bake it. Chocolate syrup and deserts, cookies, all were served on a tray to us. I was, at this point, far too full to try everything (sorry). I knew I would be coming back.
The bottom line is that everything served at the Wizarding World is so beyond impressive that you have to try it to believe it. The chefs have taken so many food items from the books, and they LOOK so appetizing (it is so hard to write this report without photographs of the amazing dishes we saw) that nobody is going to be walking away disappointed. To dispell a rumor once and for all, the butterbeer in the park is not alcoholic but they HAVE concocted a special brew for the Hog's Head pub called "Hog's Brew" which is unique to the park. If it's anything like the care that went into their other food and drink, I am sure it will quickly replace traditional Muggle adult beverages as favorites.
The butterbeer and pumpkin juice served in the park will not be shipped or sold outside of the park. It will be available in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park only. We asked, and they told us. You will have to travel to Hogwarts (in Orlando, FL) this summer to get it. If I lived near the park, I'd be stopping by Hogsmeade three times a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their food is going to be that good. One will not tire of it easy.
Now if those descriptions didn't make you hungry, there's something wrong with you. jk