Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Party Food

A moment later the desserts appeared.  Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, Jell-O, rice pudding...

excerpt from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

After outdoor activities, we moved everyone back inside for the Feast in the Great Hall. For kids' parties, I believe the food should be what they like. The fun is in the setting. The kids will really get a kick out of sipping from golden goblets, and taking food from fancy silver trays. Candles or sparkly lights make it a special occasion.

For our party, we kept the food simple:  pizza and fruit.  Before pizza was served, we raised our goblets in a toast to the birthday girl, then dug in.  I did make a couple of extra dishes for the more grown up tastes:  Pumpkin Pasties and Cauldron Cakes. If you want to be more adventurous or authentic, there's no lack of ideas and recipes online for party food.

"Pumpkin Pasties"
Here are recipes I've tested myself:
Recipe for Pumpkin Pasties
Recipe for Treacle Tart
Recipe for Cauldron Cakes (mushroom appetizers)
Frozen Butterbeer Recipe
Butterbeer Cupcakes Recipe
Chocolate Cauldron Cakes

We ordered a Harry Potter cake from the local Vons.  When the birthday cake came out, all the Hogwarts students had to help light the candles by waving their wands and saying, "Lumos."

Fun drink ideas
Another way to pump up the atmosphere is to serve punch or Koolaid from a punch bowl with a small piece of dry ice added to the bottom.  Blue or lime green colored Koolaid looks rather magical.  The dry ice will fog up and give it an eerie look.  Dry ice can be purchased at Smart and Final in our area.  Don't touch dry ice with your bare hands, and only let adults serve the punch with the ice in it  -- keep kids away.

Freeze small gummy creatures (bugs, frogs, etc) inside of ice cubes, then float them into drinks or punch bowl.  Be aware that the small candies might be a choking hazard for very young children.

Adding Pop Rocks to drinks will make them fizz up like magic.

If you want to serve "pumpkin juice", I recommend just using a spiced apple juice or cider.  There are some recipes for pumpkin juice using real pumpkin, but it's a bit much for my kids, who turn their noses up at the slightest of odd tastes.

I make homemade frozen butterbeer using this recipe.  It's basically cream soda sweetened with butterscotch syrup and topped with whipped cream, also sweetened with butterscotch syrup.  There are plenty of other recipes online you can try out.

Inexpensive butterbeer mugs like the one we got from Wizarding World of Harry Potter can be made by printing decals onto clear sticker paper and attaching to plastic mugs or cups from a party store. The mugs can be sent home (after rinsing out) as part of the party favors.

There are some great resources on the Internet for Harry Potter recipes.  Here are some I found:

Recipe for pumpkin pasties
Pumpkin Pasties Recipe by the Geeky Chef

Recipes for butterbeer
Butterbeer Recipe by the Geeky Chef
Fox News Butterbeer Recipe
5 Butterbeer Recipes

Recipes for all kinds of party food; one of my favorite sites for lots of great ideas
A Hogwarts Celebration

Recipes for baked goodies with detailed instructions and photos

A comprehensive collection of recipes
Madame Rosmertas Recipes at

Not a recipe site, but an explanation of food and drink unique to the English Wizarding world of Harry Potter
HP Lexicon: Food and Drink

A collection of Harry Potter themed birthday cakes made by home bakers

Next Stop: Honeydukes Candy Shop