ORLANDO – Food at the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley park opening July 8 at Universal Orlando Resort is based on traditional British cuisine, with some unusual twists inspired by the Harry Potter books and films. And it’s very different from the American fare on steroids a few steps away at The Simpsons’ Springfield area of the theme park, where the menu includes ginormous doughnuts, burgers and beer.
The new Harry Potter area has one main eatery called the Leaky Cauldron. It’s a large restaurant with large group tables just inside the entrance. There are also street kiosks with food and drink, plus Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour.
Here are some must-try culinary adventures from Diagon Alley for us ordinary muggles.
BUTTERBEER ICE CREAM
When Universal’s original Harry Potter attraction – the Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Hogsmeade – opened in 2010, butterbeer – a sweet, butterscotch, non-alcoholic beverage – was instantly popular. Diagon Alley offers butterbeer soft-serve ice cream, and it’s just the thing for a hot Orlando day. The ice cream shop also sells other unusual flavors, such as Earl Grey and lavender, or chocolate chili. Cost: $4.79.
If you’re unsure whether you’ll like a large portion of traditional British meat-and-potatoes pies, try the mini. It includes two smaller savory pies with a side salad. One pie is salmon, shrimp and cod, the other is beef and vegetables, both baked under a mashed potato crust. Cost: $12.99. (And if you’re still hungry, add on a toad in the hole – sausage baked in a flour-egg batter, $8.99.)
This is like an English charcuterie plate, with cheeses, crusty bread, cornichon pickles, apple-beet salad, Branston pickle (pickled diced vegetables) and a Scotch egg (hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and baked). Cost: $19.99 (serves two).
STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING
This moist, spongy cake is covered in gooey toffee and topped with vanilla ice cream. Yum. Cost: $6.99
In the Harry Potter stories, Gillywater is made from Gillyweed, a magical plant. In real life, it looks like plain bottled water, but costumed Universal employees add magical and colorful elixirs for a slightly sweet taste. The names of the elixirs are fun: Draught of Peace, Babbling Beverage, Elixir to Induce Euphoria and Fire Protection Potion. Cost: $4.