Chocolate in the Harry Potter universe

Today, 7th of July is ‘World Chocolate Day’. Let’s celebrate it by looking into where chocolate plays a role in the Harry Potter universe, how this is reflected in various LEGO sets, and learn what J. K. Rowling herself has said about chocolate herself. Enjoy eating, umm sorry, reading…

Chocolate originates from Central America where fermented beverages for long has been created out of the beans from inside the cacao pods. The earliest known documentation of using cacao seeds is from around 1100 BC. Only later, was it discovered how to turn the cacao seeds into the sweet treats we know today. World Chocolate day is celebrated on July 7th because it was on this date in 1550 that chocolate was first brought to Europe.

Since, it has surely been a hit among muggles, but also in the wizarding world it features well. Let’s see how…

Chocolate frogs

The first reference to chocolate in the books/movies is when Ron Weasley introduces Harry to wizard lollies sold by the Trolley witch. This includes Chocolate Frogs.

excaping frog
Ups, Harry’s first frog escaped through the open train window

These packages with moving chocolate frogs, bought from the trolley on Hogwarts Express, were among Harry’s first exposures to weird, yet wonderful, items in the world of magic – and J. K. Rowling used the wizard collector card Harry got with his first frog to introduce Dumbledore in more detail to the reader (along with his connection to Nicolas Flamel, which led Harry, Ron and Hermione to find out about the Philosopher’s stone).

Ron explained to Harry: “Oh, of course, you wouldn’t know — Chocolate Frogs have cards inside them, you know, to collect — Famous Witches and Wizards. I’ve got about five hundred, but I haven’t got Agrippa or Ptolemy.”

Together with the fact that the first frog Harry got in the movies to his surprise crawled up the glass to escape through the open train window (much to the amusement of many kids watching it for the first time) it makes the chocolate frogs rather iconic. Accordingly, they have also featured a lot in official LEGO Harry Potter sets.

While some may have missed this, the first Hogwarts Express train released in 2001 (set 4708) included a chocolate frog wizard card – a hologram sticker of Professor Dumbledore, applied on a 2×2 tile.

Instructions 4708
Holographic sticker represented a Chocolate Frog Wizard Card in the 2001 Hogwarts Express set

Fast forward to 2010 and the third Hogwarts Express train released (set 4841). This included a trolley with lollies/sweets, including a chocolate frog and even a sticker on the side of the trolley advertising Honeydukes Chocolate Frogs!

Finally, the fourth Hogwarts Express set from 2018 (set 75955) also had both a trolley (and the first appearance of the Trolley witch) along with a chocolate frog.

The trolley and trolley witch from 75955 (left) and the trolley from 4841 (right)

My review of the 2018 Hogwarts Express can be found on the reviews page.

Moving beyond the official sets, I’ve previously blogged several times about the chocolate frogs, including how to build your own box, frog and collectable wizard card. Instructions are available on my instructions page.

IMG_20181209_183723
Build your own chocolate frog set!

A similar, absolutely beautiful rendering (though I’m pretty sure that the not all used bricks are available yet in the colours required) were submitted by user MartinOt to a LEGO Ideas competition.

5900702-1
Stunning rendering of what a chocolate frog set could look like!

A recent addition came with the 2021 mid-year wave of LEGO Harry Potter sets. These sets, celebrating the 20th anniversary of LEGO Harry Potter, introduced a new collectable item – 2×2 tiles representing the wizard cards from the chocolate frogs. There are 16 cards to collect in total, all printed on dark purple tiles. The different ones are shown here:

A total of 7 known sets (see details here) each includes 2 or more of these tiles. The allocation is purely random and you may not have a full set, even after having bought all seven sets. Instead, you will have to swap with friends, or maybe purchase any remaining tiles you are missing from Bricklink.

I have designed the stand below to display my own collection of wizard cards (still have a few gaps).

While relatively straightforward to build, I have made instructions for it available along with a parts list, as per this post.

Chocolate and dementors

While the second Hogwarts Express train (set 4758) from 2004 had no reference to the chocolate frogs, it did include chocolate. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we learned that chocolate was a great way to recover from a meeting with a dementor.

4758 box
Hogwarts Express – 2nd version released in 2004

As seen on the box above, the set includes Professor Lupin with a block of chocolate to help Harry after his encounter with the dementor, also included. Below a closeup of both Lupin and the dementor.

Go away – we have chocolate!

The 2018 Hogwarts Express also included Remus Lupin, but unfortunately no chocolate bar.

J. K. Rowling has written on Pottermore.com about chocolate and how it helps after the encounter with a dementor.

The mood-enhancing properties of chocolate are well known in both the Muggle and wizard worlds. Chocolate is the perfect antidote for anyone who has been overcome in the presence of Dementors, which suck hope and happiness out of their surroundings.

Chocolate can only be a short-term remedy, however. Finding ways to fight off Dementors – or depression – are essential if one is to become permanently happier. Excessive chocolate consumption cannot benefit either Muggle or wizard.

Hot chocolate may have the same properties as chocolate. After Ginny Weasleys’ encounter with Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore suggested that she should should have some, saying “I always find that cheers me up.” On a personal note, I can only agree.

Spiked chocolate

In his sixth year on Hogwards (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), Romilda Vane gave Harry a box of Chocolate Cauldrons spiked with Love Potion. She had bought the potion at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Unfortunately, Ron was the first to try the chocolate, when they after a period of being stowed away in Harry’s trunk was put on the bed while looking for the Marauder’s map.

Careful Ron, it may not be what it looks like…

Having eaten half the chocolate, Ron suddenly became obsessively in love with Romilda, to the point that he declared his love for her in front of Harry, then punched him when the former asked if it was a joke. Luckily Professor Slughorn could create an antidote.

‘Who are you talking about?’ said Harry, with an increasing sense that all reason had dropped out of the conversation.

‘Romilda Vane,’ said Ron softly, and his whole face seemed to illuminate as he said it, as though hit by a ray of purest sunlight.

They stared at each other for almost a whole minute, before Harry said, ‘This is a joke, right? You’re joking.’

With that, I’ll wish you all a nice World Chocolate Day. Check back later for more LEGO Harry Potter related coverage.

Till then, Build the Magic!

(this is an updated version of a previous post, adding the most recent references to LEGO Harry Potter sets).

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