I have a confession: I missed HoCo food over winter break — sorry Mom! From the chocolate chip peanut butter pancakes to the black bean and pepper soup, my heart (and my stomach) will forever belong to UNH Dining’s masterful creations. Just while I was beginning to have withdrawals, I got a text message from my friend alerting me to Harry Potter Night at HoCo on February 6th. Not only was I looking forward to everyday HoCo food, I had a theme night to enjoy right at the beginning of the Spring semester!
As a fan of both the Harry Potter books and movies, there is nothing better than seeing cherished stories come to life — especially when there is food involved. My strategy was to get there early to beat the crowds, but I think every other UNH student had the same idea… The line was as long as the line for the Flight of the Hippogrife at Harry Potter World (not that I’ve ever been, but that’s a different story). Even before stepping onto Platform 9 ¾, the Great Hall was decorated with pictures from all the Harry Potter movies. All of the UNH Dining staff was dressed as one character or another, from Professor McGonagall to Harry Potter himself. Inside, floating candles hung from the ceiling. Each station was a nod to a iconic person, place, or thing from Harry Potter. The Quidditch World Cup was the main buffet, serving dishes such as Dobby’s Drumsticks (Roasted Turkey Legs) and Muggle Stew (Seafood Bouillabaisse). The Stir Fry station became Slug and Jiggers Apothecary, with Nearly Headless Nick’s English Cheese and Breads (which I devoured by the way) and Hagrid’s Hogs (bangers and mash).
As most Harry Potter fanatics will remember, Honeydukes Sweetshop is filled with Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans and Chocolate Frogs. HoCo’s version too included yummy candy, plus Pumpkin Pastries, Hedwig-inspired cupcakes, and Hufflepuffs (cream puffs). My favorite was the petit fours, especially the red velvet cake and the carrot cake. The focal point was a Hogwarts Castle Cake, which seemed like an exact replica of the famous school of witchcraft and wizardry. The local hangout for Hogwarts students, Three Broomsticks Pub, was churning out delicious Butterbeer, which was butterscotch and cream soda. If I closed my eyes, I could almost pretend I was hanging out with Ron and Hermione.
When UNH Dining sets out to do a theme night, it is a go-big-or-go-home situation. Right down to every last detail, they transformed HoCo into a world most of us never thought we would venture (I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter. Maybe my owl lost it…). I’m so lucky to go to a school with such spirit, from not only the staff, but the students as well. I saw many students decked out in wizard robes and crooked glasses and after a long, hectic day of juggling classes, work, and extracurricular activities, it was great to escape it all and enjoy a night of magic.
Written by Samantha Friedman, UNH Class of 2015