Lunching with Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort

Last week, Universal Orlando announced an opening date (June 18) for its Wizarding World of Harry Potter and offered more details about the big new ride in Harry Potter land. But the Orlando theme park also gave hardcore Potter fans a glimpse into another important aspect of their new mecca – the food.

First up, butterbeer – the drink of choice for all young wizards. The Orlando Sentinel’s Dewayne Bevil got a preview swig last week, and he describes the flavor as “shortbread cookie with butterscotch.”

It’s a foamy drink, which makes me think it will be smooth like a cream soda. But if it is as sweet as everyone says, it seems like it might be hard to finish the reported 16 ounces in a serving. It is non-alcoholic, and Universal says the recipe has been approved by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

There’s also pumpkin juice, which we’re guessing will taste like pumpkin pie.

And then, there’s the food. Universal chef Stephen Jayson has been using a lot of books in his menu development, but they aren’t cookbooks. MTV News says when Jayson was questioned about whether certain food items were mentioned in the Harry Potter novels, he “produced a heavily annotated stack” of Harry Potter books and offered to show the exact page where the food was described.

Much of the food in the Wizarding World’s new Three Broomsticks restaurant will be British pub fare such as fish and chips, pasties and shepherd’s pie. There will also be healthier choices like split pea soup and salads. Larger parties can order the “Great Feast,” a family-style meal of rotisserie chicken, ribs and sides.