This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Best Drinks, Snacks, and Food Options at DIAGON ALLEY. We are still celebrating the one year anniversary of Universal’s Diagon Alley, and today we are going to look at the unsung hero of this incredible land. No, not our favorite ride the Hogwart’s Express. No, not the love of our lives Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. Not even the glorious dragon sitting high atop Gringotts Bank breathing fire. Forget all that stuff, our unsung hero is the new themed food and beverage items Diagon Alley brought into our lives… things we had no idea we were missing but now can’t live without! As theme park foodies it’s going to be pretty much impossible to narrow our list down to just the top six, but we’re going to try anyway starting with…
# 6 – Butterbeer Ice Cream
The biggest debate in theme parks right now is not who’s better between Universal and Disney, or the Raptor Experience and Val the Velociraptor, but instead it is the hotly contested debate of which style of Butterbeer is the best? Many will stand by the traditional Butterbeer, while others swear by the Frozen version. Your humble author’s opinion is that hot Butterbeer trumps them all, but there is something to be said about Butterbeer Ice Cream that made it’s debut with Diagon Alley. Available at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor (but the pros know to skip that line and head over to Fountain of Fair Fortune instead) Butterbeer ice cream is mostly vanilla soft-serve with swirls of Butterbeer flavoring. Like the Butterbeer drinks, the ice cream is very sweet, but it certainly feels right eating inside the Wizarding World. Now when exactly will Universal start selling a Butterbeer float?!
# 5 – Dragon Scale Brew
Dragon Scale is a malty lager more along the lines of the exclusive Hog’s Head Brew in Hogsmeade and regular Duff Beer in Springfield. An equivalent Muggle beer would be close to Killian’s. Like the Hog’s Head beer, the tap for Dragon Scale is incredibly designed. For us, a highlight of Diagon Alley on a hot Summer day is grabbing an ice cold Dragon Scale and then walking outside to enjoy it while the Gringotts dragon roars and spews fire. (Available at the Leaky Cauldron, the Hopping Pot, and the Fountain of Fair Fortune.)
# 4 – Toad in the Hole
The picture below says it all. While on a much smaller scale than the Gringotts dragon or even the Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees stage show, it’s hard to believe that the Toad in the Hole dish exists inside an American theme park. A huge hit with guests (part of which could be attributed to the lower price point compared to other entrees at the Leaky Cauldron) the Toad in the Hole is two pieces of traditional sausage baked into a Yorkshire pudding and served with onion gravy and vegetables. To quote Ned Flanders, this is scrumdiddlyumptious.
# 3 – Apple Crumble Ice Cream
Apple Crumble is only available at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour and is our favorite of the Murderer’s Row of ice creams they offer (you will not go wrong with Strawberry & Peanut-butter or Salted Caramel Blondie either.) Crisp apple pieces mixed in with pie crust crumbles combine to make pretty much the perfect apple pie a la mode in ice cream form.
# 2 – Banger Sandwich
The Banger sandwich is remarkable as you get a rather large sausage that is covered in a special mustard aioli that reminds us of the Dalkey mustard at Cookes of Dublin, one of our favorite places in Disney Springs. There is also some roasted tomatoes along with sautéed cabbage and onions loaded into the roll as well. A fantastic sandwich worth going out of your way in the park to try.
# 1 – Tongue Tying Lemon Squash
Think of the lemonades you get freshly made at your local fair or farmer’s market and imagine more lemon being used along with a hint of vanilla. Thirsty? The taste is very tart, but the Tongue Tying Lemon Squash has already become the best lemonade on property.
HONORABLE MENTION: Skiving Snackbox
“Skiving snackboxes. Sweets that will make you ill. Get out of class whenever you like.” – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Straight out of the Harry Potter universe comes the Skiving Snackbox, available at Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. In the movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Fred and George Weasley are shown trying to sell other students the Skiving Snackbox. These boxes unfolded to display four different snacks, all guaranteed to cause maladies that would get the students out of class. The four candies included in the box are Fever Fudge, Puking Pastilles, Nosebleed Nougat, and Fainting Fancies. The Skiving Snackboxes have been beautifully recreated in the Wizarding World and don’t worry, you can buy each of the candies separately as well.
DOUBLE SECRET HONORABLE MENTION: FIRE WHISKY~!
We can’t leave without mentioning the newest kid on the block, Fire Whisky. Debuting this past April, guests have wanted Fire Whiskey since the original Hogsmeade Village opened as it is mentioned in several Potter books and the Hog’s Head Pub had fake bottles of the liquor on its shelves. Now you can order your own Fire Whiskey in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade Village. You can also add Fire Whisky to several other drink options including orange juice (not a hit) and pear cider (very good.) The bartenders will not add Fire Whisky to Butterbeer or the draught beers.
You also may want to check out a great article by Dani looking at the specialty drinks at the Hog’s Head pub including Black Hog, Hog’s Bite, and Hog’s Tea. CLICK HERE to check it out.
So there you have it: the Six Best Snacks, Drinks, and Food Items in DIAGON ALLEY. See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan)
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Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover and – of course – Blogger to the Stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and Brian Carey.
FINAL PLUG! Did you know The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. PRE-ORDER this baby now! (For every copy sold, a percentage of the profits* go towards buying a DVD of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train rap video.)