“Are you gonna record us eating? That’s not gonna sound good,” said James Percy, one of the stars of “Potted Potter,” the hilarious Harry Potter parody currently running at RCBC Plaza’s Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium.
It was just hours before their first show and we were at Early Bird Breakfast Club at Century City Mall for one big reason: butterbeer.
The fictional Harry Potter drink, which J.K. Rowling described to Bon Appetit magazine as “a little bit like less sickly butterscotch,” has made the leap from the pages of the Harry Potter books into the real world. There are official ones served at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks in Orlando and Osaka, and at The Making of Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London. There are numerous recipes online and an assortment of butterbeer-inspired concoctions served all over the world, including Manila.
We invited the “Potted Potter” cast to try three of them and, because Ben Stratton wasn’t feeling well that day (we sent him bananas instead, they’re his favorite), the show’s co-creator Jeff Turner stepped up to the sweet and sticky plate.
“Which one do you want to try first?” we asked them.
James looked at the “mugcake” in front of him and said, “Let’s go with this one.”
Butterbeer Mugcake by chef Miko Aspiras
Miko Aspiras, an award-winning pastry chef (he has five gold medals from international competitions) and the brilliant mind behind those delicious plated desserts at Magnum Manila (and Malaysia), is a huge Harry Potter fan who has seen all the films around 15 times.
He created Butterbeer Mugcakes for James and Jeff: hazelnut butterscotch cake soaked in butterbeer reduction topped with beurre noisette cream and a praline macaron. “I decided to turn the popular drink into a fancy dessert that uses the flavors of butterbeer. I love using creative flavor pairings and I love butterscotch and the nutty flavor of hazelnut,” Miko said. He served his cakes in butterbeer mugs.
“Oh, it’s the most exciting,” Jeff said.
When we asked if they wanted to use spoons or forks, James said, “I don’t know, I was just gonna bury my head in it.”
Jeff asked, “Eat the macaron first?”
And when they started eating, Jeff said, “That’s really f*cking good. That’s really good. I didn’t swear. That’s seriously good.”
“Oh it’s good,” James added.
“Do you think Harry would like this?” we asked James of his character in “Potted Potter.”
He said: “I think Harry would have more restraint than me. I think Harry would have one mouthful and then go, “That’s enough for me.”
Jeff: “We’re more of a Ron.”
James: “Ron would eat the lot.
Jeff: We’re Ronning it up.
Get your own:
We’re not sure what kind of spell you will need to cast on chef Miko to get him to make you these Butterbeer Mugcakes. (Accio, butterbeer!) But if you want to taste his magic, visit Magnum Manila at SM Aura and order his creations. (We love Pink Friday, Magnum Apple Pie, Rainbow Dream and Death by Chocolate.) And watch out for Scout’s Honor, the cookies and milk café that’s he’s opening this month at Century City Mall. “You will experience the same creativity that they had with the butterbeer mugcake there,” he promised.
Butterbeer by Early Bird Breakfast Club
Early Bird Breakfast Club owner and Harry Potter fan Ellen Evangelista-Co has tried butterbeer at the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando and the Warner Brother Studios in London. She wanted to share the experience with fans in Manila. “We were planning what Christmas drink to offer and butterbeer means Christmas in Hogsmeade, so I wanted to bring butterbeer to Manila. We turned out to be the first to offer it in the country.”
The Early Bird Breakfast Club team spent two days creating, tweaking and perfecting its butterbeer recipe before launching it in November 2012. “We wanted to make it more authentic and more enjoyable. It’s buttery and creamy but it looks like beer and has a soda taste to it. This was how I remember it from the book and it guided me in creating the butterbeer I wanted to have as a big Harry Potter fan.”
Their version of the drink— cold, sweet and topped with whipped cream, marshmallows and a delicious caramel twill on top—has been a huge hit, making it an Early Bird menu staple.
James and Jeff had already enjoyed Early Bird butterbeers earlier that day. While they were drinking their second round, we asked Jeff how it compares to the butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.
“In Orlando, I had a frozen one, the one that was like the slush which was really nice. It was very different. But we’ve had butterbeer in Toronto and Philadelphia and this is head and shoulders above,” he said. “Those ones you just couldn’t drink. It was just like melted butter and cream soda. It was nasty. This is nice.”
“This is really good,” James added. “Shall we cheers?”
Then Jeff put a dollop of cream on James’ nose.
Visit Early Bird Breakfast Club at Century City Mall on Kalayaan Ave., Makati, open
7 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 7 a.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday. Early Bird Breakfast Club’s branch at Bonifacio Global City (Unit C, G/F, Fort Pointe 2 Bldg., The Fort Complex, 28th Street) is open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and is open 24 hours on weekends starting at 7 a.m. on Friday until 10 p.m. on Sunday. An order of butterbeer is P155.
Butterbeer Ice Cream by Jonathan Co of Main Street
Jonathan Co used to make ice cream for fun when he was a student. “It was just a hobby,” he said.
But when he and his partners were deciding on the dessert menu for Main Street, their restaurant at Tuscany in McKinley Hill that serves Canadian comfort food, he decided to create new flavors. “We wanted a unique dessert that only we would offer. I used to make vanilla ice cream but, with the suggestion of my friends, I made Malted Milk, Milk and Cookies and Maple Bacon, to fit our Canadian theme.”
And when one of his partners, Adam Tacderas-Tan, asked him to create a seasonal ice cream flavor for Christmas, he thought, “Why not butterbeer? Ever since I started reading Harry Potter, I’d always been curious about butterbeer.”
Jonathan, whose favorite Harry Potter book is “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” said: “I hated reading but I was able to read those first four books. I became a fan.”
He did his research and got to work. “It took a lot of samples, a lot of eating, a lot of rejections from my partners and friends.” Their butterbeer ice cream has been a hit and now they serve it all year long.
James said, spotting the big tub of ice cream that Jonathan and Adam brought with them, “Oh good, there’s a whole tub.”
“I think you can fit your face in that,” said Jeff.
And when Jeff ate a spoonful, he said, “Holy hell, that’s good. That’s seriously good.”
James: “That’s really good. Can you bring that tub over here? This shot glass is doing nothing for me.”
And, minutes later:
James: “The ice cream’s my favorite.”
Jeff: “Yeah, the ice cream’s also my favorite. The ice cream is beautiful.”
And when we asked if they were just saying that because Jonathan and Adam were within earshot, Jeff said, “No, not at all. I’m just saying this because there’s a whole tub of it over there.”
More minutes later:
Jeff: “It’s like a cross between peanut butter and caramel. It’s really nice.”
James: “It’s the right taste.”
Jeff: “It’s the right taste?”
James: “It’s totally the right taste.”
Jeff: “I’m finishing the ice cream. I’m finishing everything.”
Get your own:
Visit Main Street at Tuscany, Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Hill, Taguig, open 11 a.m.-
2 a.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-12 midnight Saturday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday. A single serving of ice cream costs P95. “Eventually customers will be able to buy the ice cream by the pint,” Adam said. We heard that the S’mores flavor is really good, too.
Jeff and James’ Butterbeer Mashup
In a brilliant sugar rush-driven moment, Jeff said, “I’m thinking, if we put the ice cream onto the cake…”
“Ahh, you just made it. You’ve made the butterbeer dessert then. If you combine them, we’ve found it, we’ve absolutely found it. We need to make our little perfect butterbeer creation here,” James said.
And that’s exactly what they did—put together all three butterbeer creations into one glass and started eating it. “That’s it. So the answer is, you need all three. Now if somebody could find me a macaron…”
We handed him the box of Miko’s macarons, and when he started eating one of them with the whipped cream from Early Bird’s butterbeer, we said, “You guys are crazy.”
James said, “This is the best press day ever.”
“I’m going to have to go and nap after this,” Jeff said.
James: “Yup and I’m going to have to go and do a tech run.”
You can still catch “Potted Potter” at the RCBC Plaza’s Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in Makati today and tomorrow. For tickets, call Ticketworld at 8919999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph. “Potted Potter 2014” is presented by Potted Productions, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and Concertus Manila.