After the release of the incredible ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them’ we have all been launched back into our favourite fantasy series of all time. The wizarding world of Harry Potter and his friends is a vibrant and exciting realm that we are all too happy to revisit especially in light of Universal Orlando’s upcoming annual event of ‘A Celebration of Harry Potter’ which runs from 27th until 29th of January 2017.
Though we are eager to take the Hogwarts Express from London (in Universal Studios) to Hogsmeade (located in Islands of Adventure) and brush up on our wand skills, many of us will not be the proud owners of Universal Orlando Tickets in the next couple of weeks. We can however bring a little magic home and hold our very own ‘Celebration of Harry Potter’ with a few choice
A well-known tipple that first appears in ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ is available all over the Harry Potter universe including Harry Potter World in Orlando. Though the recipe is kept a close guarded secret by Universal, there are many versions available online. In the books the drink is described as ‘tasting a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch’ but its main appeal is the warming effect that is mentioned ‘It was the most delicious thing he had ever tasted and seemed to heat every bit of him from the inside’.
Though it contains traces of alcohol in the books (negligible unless you are a house elf) the recipe here and at Universal Studios Florida have refrained from adding the adult element. The full recipe for our favourite drink is by Toni Roberts and is available on her blog.
Owl Cup Cakes
Owls have an enormous role within the narrative, from the irritating and excitable Pigwidgeon to the old and ineffective Errol. The best-loved is of course Hedwig, Harry’s present from Hagrid on his eleventh birthday who makes her appearance in the first book and continues as Harry’s constant companion until her untimely death in ‘the battle of the seven potters’.
As owls are the main form of courier in the wizarding world, there is a great variety available: “The owls sat hooting softly down at him, at least two to three hundred of them; ranging from Great Grey Owls to tiny little Scops owls (“for local deliveries only”), which were so small they could have sat in the palm of Harry’s hand”. Create your own Post Office by making these cakes in all shapes and sizes, or just have an army of Hedwigs at your beck and call. Nancy Cockrell has a recipe for these adorable cakes available here.
Golden Snitch Cake Pops
A symbol of Harry’s first and final success, The Golden Snitch represents achievement throughout the books. The flesh memories of the Quidditch ball is a key part of the seventh book’s plot and the Snitch regularly appears in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he is even baked a cake in the shape of a snitch by Molly Weasley. Historically the sporting apparatus was based on a bird called the Golden Snidget.
According to ‘Quidditch Through the Ages’ the bird was initially released as a bet and then incorporated into the game, but wizards fearing animal cruelty, created a magical metal replacement to preserve The Golden Snidget population. In honour of this symbol of Harry’s hope, Tonya Staab has created these gorgeous cake pops that are so easy to make at home.
Initially appearing on the food cart on The Hogwarts Express, Pumpkin Pasties are an edible induction to the wizarding world. Though it doesn’t specify if they are sweet or savoury, they are definitely pastry wrapped and pumpkin-filled. They are also the beginning of Ron and Harry’ friendship, as Harry buys everything of the food trolley in a bid to impress his compartment companion. This tasty snack is great outside of the Harry Potter realm, so if you are looking for a subtle nod that only the most observant on muggles would notice, check out Adina Beck’s recipe for perfect pumpkin pasties.
These cakes are the most open to interpretation as very little is written about them and the name leaves a lot to the imagination. The general consensus is that they are cauldron shaped and chocolate flavoured, though the magic aspect will have to be left up to your own fancy. Kristin Roseau has come up with the perfect recipe, made with edible glitter and a chocolate handle, it is impossible not to love these little treats.
A Pensieve is a handy device for storing memories when your head feels too full. For someone as old and thoughtful as Dumbledore, we suspect this would have been a regular occurrence. The liquid within the vessel are memories in a physical form and is described in ‘The Goblet of Fire’ as “The silvery light was coming from the basin’s contents, which were nothing like Harry had ever seen before. He could not tell whether the substance was liquid or gas. It was bright, whitish silver, and it was moving ceaselessly; the surface of it became ruffled like water beneath wind and then, like clouds, separated and swirled smoothly. It looked like light made liquid or wind made solid”.
This impressive display is hard to achieve though Jen has managed it with some technical aid. Get the full instructions for a completely magical (and edible) punch on her site.
Though the effects of the potion sound excruciating, there is a chance it could taste pleasant. The Polyjuice Potion transforms a person into the complete likeness of someone else, with a unique ingredient to each potion, a piece of the person who you wish to transform into. This is usually hair which can be easily attained. The unique ingredient then changes the colour, smell and taste of the potion depending on the character, unpleasant characters turn muted colours with nasty tastes, such as Crabbe and Goyle’s essences turning the potions murky green and brown and had a flavour like overcooked cabbages and bogies, Harry’s turned brilliant gold and tasted much nicer by comparison.
In the second book, Hermione uses this to a detrimental effect when she puts in an animal hair instead of a person’s and turns into a cat humanoid. She does, however, manage to concoct the potion at age twelve which is extremely difficult. Despite the full recipe and instructions being listed in the books, the lack of Boomslang Skin available on the high street means we have sought alternative recipes, our favourite being from This Grandma is Fun blog.
It is impossible to enjoy a magical world like Harry Potter without a wand. Harry’s wand has its own story, as its magical core (phoenix feather) is a twin to his arch enemy Voldemort’s. JK Rowling goes in to great depth about wand lore, due to the narrative of The Deathly Hallows. Wand makers are famous among wizards, and one wand in particular is believed to be the most powerful of all, The Elder Wand: “the idea of the Dark Lord in possession of the Deathstick is, I must admit, formidable”. Fake wands feature heavily in magical joke shops and liquorice wands are a popular sweet. Here is a video from Rosanna Pansino for simple liquorice wands.
Sorting Hat Cakes
The Sorting Hat is an enchanted object of incredible strength and no Potter celebration would be complete without a nod towards it. Originally owned by Godric Gryffindor, the hat is able to see into the young minds of new students to discover their personalities and abilities. Believed to contain the wisdom of all four founders, the hat often gives sage and relevant advice at the start of each year (all in impeccable rhyme) to help students through the year ahead. “Oh you may not think I’m pretty, but don’t judge on what you see, I’ll eat myself if you can find a smarter hat than me”, it says. Though we are not in possession of a magical mind reading hat, these cakes sort you into houses as well. The different coloured centres correspond to a Hogwarts House and are so easy to make thanks to Sugar Bean Bakers.
Though mainly bought for the collectors’ cards, Chocolate Frogs are an enormous part of young wizarding society as well as celebrity status (only those that are really famous get their own Chocolate Frog card like Dumbledore). They are also a piece of magic often taken for granted by children who have grown up in the wizarding world, however Harry’s first experience is startling and disappointing. As his chocolate frog jumps out of the window on the Hogwarts Express, he asks, “They’re not really frogs are they?” Despite the frogs not being real, they are brilliantly enchanted and have a tendency to hop if unsupervised. Bryton Taylor’s recipe is not solid chocolate, giving the frogs a magical wobble and therefore creating a treat closer to the real thing.
Image Credit: Rob Young, Yida Li, Nancy Cockrell, Tonya Staab, Adina Beck, Kristina Rosenau, Sam-Cat, Debbie McEwen, FF16, Harsh Light, garlandcannon, Bryton Taylor
Want to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for yourself? Click here, to view our tickets for the Universal Orlando Resort.
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