Not Pure Imagination: Willy Wonka-Inspired Chocolate Factory Opening At Universal Studios

Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is something that kids and adults everywhere had always one day hoped would be real - and now it actually is.

The Toothsome Chocolate Factory - inspired by Mr Wonka’s sweet wonderland - is set to open at Universal Studios in Orlando sometime this year.

And just in case the name wasn’t a big giveaway, there will be chocolate - lots and lots of chocolate.

There won’t be any Oompa Loompas here, but staff will be dressed up in Steampunk gear as you walk around towering smoke stacks and what “funky gadgetry”.

Milkshakes: Chocolate, ice cream and cupcakes are the order of the day (Universal)

Dreamy dessert: Creations will be made right in front of you (Universal)

That’s all well and good, but what about the stuff you can eat? As it happens, it sounds AMAZING.

You can get burgers, salads and steaks, but it’s all about the desserts here - more importantly, the milkshakes.

Some of the choices on offer will be the Red Velvet, which is basically a milkshake topped with a Red Velvet cupcake (brilliant, obvs) and the gloriously-named Chocolate x5, which is described as “an explosion of chocolate with chocolate spirals, chunks, ice-cream and whipped cream”.

Be still our pumping arteries.

Steampunk: The factory and staff costumes are inspired by the 19th century (Universal)

Savoury fans can also indulge in the Bacon Brittle - which alarmingly consists of bacon ice cream, bacon brittle, chocolate covered bacon and bacon caramel.

Everything is made right in front of you, so you will get to marvel at the sheer volume of chocolate and ice cream that will soon be safely stored in your belly.

Just admit it, you’re going to try all of it.

Top pic: Universal

Gugs: Lovecraft’s Sideways Smile

I always liked these guys. Picture above and below are Wayne Barlowe, from his Guide to Fantasy.

The gugs, hairy and gigantic, once reared stone circles in that wood and made strange sacrifices to the Other Gods and the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep, until one night an abomination of theirs reached the ears of earth’s gods and they were banished to caverns below. Only a great trap-door of stone with an iron ring connects the abyss of the earth-ghouls with the enchanted wood, and this the gugs are afraid to open because of a curse.

-H.P. Lovecraft, The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath

That a mortal dreamer could traverse their cavern realm and leave by that door is inconceivable; for mortal dreamers were their former food, and they have legends of the toothsomeness of such dreamers even though banishment has restricted their diet to the ghasts, those repulsive beings which die in the light, and which live in the vaults of Zin and leap on long hind legs like kangaroos. 

-H.P. Lovecraft, The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath

I usually see them portrayed as unthinking brutes, but they’re seriously scary. A physically powerful elder race of sadistic cultists.

Although they can be adorable, even if my friends call my plush gug “The Vagina Monster.”

One of my Christmas presents from a friend this year was a complete set of Pathfinder Lovecraft beasties, and I like the gug they made.

My Cthulhu Wars gug occupies a proud place on my bookshelf, sitting on his little collector base.

And, as always, Yog-Blogsoth has a great image of one.

As did S. Petersen’s Guide to Creatures of the Dreamlands.

When I get a publishing gap in my current monster mystery series, I have a gug book in me that’s been kicking around for a bit.

I like these guys.

Ancient “Supershark” Fossils Found in Texas

Even before the age of dinosaurs, enormous, toothy predators were roaming what is now Texas. New work led by the American Museum of Natural History shows that giant sharks were hunting in the shallow waters that once covered most of North America for much longer than previously thought.

Researchers from the Dallas Paleontological Society recently discovered a pair of fossil braincases from massive, and now extinct, relatives of modern-day sharks in rocks from Jacksboro, Texas, that date back 300 million years. The researchers, Mark McKinzie and Robert Williams, donated the fossils to the Museum and worked with John Maisey, a curator in the Division of Paleontology, to estimate how big the sharks would have been by comparing them to smaller, more complete fossils of closely related sharks.

The results suggest that these two Texas ‘supersharks’ measured between 18 and 26 feet in length (5.5 to 8 meters). The largest of these specimens would have been 25 percent bigger than today’s largest predatory shark, the great white.

“Everything is bigger in Texas, even 300 million years ago,” Maisey said.

These new fossils indicate that giant sharks go much further back into the fossil record than previously thought. Prior to this find, the oldest giant shark specimens had been recovered from rock dating back just 130 million years. The largest shark that ever lived, C. megalodon is much younger, with an oldest occurrence at about 15 million years ago.

The fossil braincases may belong to an extinct species of shark called Glikmanius occidentalis, or they may represent a larger related species that is new to science.

The researchers presented their findings on the new Texas “supershark” at the annual meeting for the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Dallas on October 16.

This story was originally published on the Museum blog. 

Image: © AMNH/J. Maisey


This is my official entry post for the Fallen London Hallowmas competition

Entering the costume category as A Seeker of Toothsome Confessions of Pride

You don a skull mask…
…and carry an unlit candle. The air is raucous with weeping and laughter.
You overhear two urchins on a rooftop. ‘I saw it!’ One whispers. 'I’ll steal the sun’s own eyes, and wear 'em as cufflinks!’ His colleague is sceptical. 'You’ll need cuffs, first. Rest of the shirt wouldn’t hurt, neither.’

Dress: Fan+Friend
Shirt: Zara
Shoes: Thrifted
Headdress and mask: handmade (and I am never ever sewing lace so small ever again wow)

Pictures taken at Gijón’s Universidad Laboral

If you wish to see more of these series, check my hallowmas coord tag

Fallen London is © 2015 and ™ Failbetter Games Limited: This is an unofficial fan work.

You Need a Snack [Blackberry Sour Cream Bran Muffins]

Sometimes you just need a small bite. Something to tame the angry gut-beasts during the day, enough to keep you going from breakfast to lunch, lunch to dinner. Snacks are up there on my list of extremely-necessary-things-to-make-it-through-the-day-without-killing-people. It’s in your best interest that I snack, and when I do, it has to be delicious. 

These muffins provide just that. Filling, not cloyingly sweet, but just enough honey to feel like you’re getting a treat. Full of toothsome wheat bran, oats and warm spices and bursting with oozy pockets of blackberry and a slight tang from the Greek yogurt and sour cream, they’re as delicious as they are full of goodness. And they make a great snack at any time of the day…especially when you slather them with a little salty butter if you’re not overly concerned with a little extra fat. 

Blackberry Sour Cream Bran Muffins
adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
makes 1 dozen muffins

If you don’t like the idea of sour cream, you can do a full cup of Greek yogurt instead. It does provide a really lovely tang, though, so don’t knock it until you try it. 

If you added a handful of dark chocolate chips, I wouldn’t be mad at you. 

1 ½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups wheatbran
½ cup quick cooking oats (or whole oats whizzed in the food processor until crumbly)
½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp salt
½ cup greek yogurt
½ cup full-fat sour cream
½ - ¾ cups honey (I used ¾ cup but I wanted them a touch sweeter)
1 tbsp molasses
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups chopped blackberries
brown or turbinado sugar, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Line a 12-muffin tin with paper or parchment muffin wrappers. 

In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Set aside. 

In a smaller bowl, add the the wet ingredients and whisk them together until well combined. Fold the wet into the dry ingredients until just combined and no pockets of flour remain. Fold in the chopped blackberries. 

Fill muffin trays ¾ of the way and sprinkle with a little brown or turbinado sugar. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. 

I Hate You

Young!Sirius Black x Reader

Requested plot: Imagine the reader as a Slytherin paired with Sirius in a class, she is injured during class and Sirius takes her to Madame Pomfrey. They secretly like each other. Sarcastic, sassy Sirius Black would be preferred. 

Word count: 1362
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything recognisable.
Warning: Strong language.

Part 2

The four boys chatted lightly, barely recognising the angry plants trying to attack them with their deadly spikes. Herbology for the sixth-year students was a tad bit more dangerous than the earlier years. Today they were studying a green, spiky, toothsome plant called Venomous Tentacula. Peter had sniggered under his breath as Professor Sprout had introduced the students to the plant, and Remus had shoved his elbow in the blonde boy’s side. The plants had angry, and deadly vines that tried to bite at the students, especially if they didn’t pay close attention.

“I hope all of you have your wands ready, know the severing charm, and aren’t afraid of some dirty fingers,” the professor bellowed. “Now, you’ll find your partner on the list I’ve created,” she waved her wand, and the list flew from student to student.

James sent his partner a cheeky smile. Lily rolled her eyes in reply as James headed towards the red-haired girl. Remus and Peter left the group to join up with fellow Gryffindor students. Only Sirius remained seated, frowning at the name of his partner.

A hand slammed down on the table in front of him; long fingers stretched out across her books. She usually painted her nails red. Today was no exception.

“Am I not the luckiest girl in the whole of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” the words rolled off her tongue dryly.

“You must have swallowed an entire bottle of Liquid Luck to score me as your partner, (Y/N)-baby, unfortunate that you had to take your contemptuous, spiteful demeanour out on me,” he turned in his chair to look at the Slytherin girl next to him.

“Wow, and I argued that that penis-enlargement charm wouldn’t work, but here you are, twice the dick you were yesterday,” (Y/N) snapped at him. Sirius let out a strangled cough, sending the Slytherin a vexed look.

(Y/N) smirked victoriously, watching as Sirius opened his copy of Flesh-Eating Trees of the World.

(Y/N) did the same, keeping a safe distance between herself and the poisonous plant given to them by the Professor.

“It says here,” said Sirius, still a hint of annoyance in his voice, “The Venomous Tentacula can in some forms of the plant also fire spiky spore-like balls from their mouths at their targets,” he looked up at (Y/N), “Sounds familiar?”

“Ha-ha, Black, I’m not the poisonous plant here,” (Y/N) spat, eyeing the plant carefully.

“I don’t know, you’re green, sharp, rather nasty looking, and you must contain some form of venom as you keep every living being a good few feet away.” The two watched as the plant moved it’s arms away from them, “Look, even the plant won’t look at you,” he laughed aloud.

“For your information, Black, it doesn’t even have eyes!” (Y/N) raised her voice, angry. With two distracted teenagers before it, the Venomous Tentacula shot forward biting her left arm; she dropped her quill immediately.

None of them spoke for half a second, only watched as the plant sunk its teeth into her flesh. Sirius reacted first, “Diffindo,” he shouted, pointing his wand at the plant’s vine. It snapped off.

Sirius’ charm had created a silence in the room; all heads turned towards the two dead-pale teens.

“Holy fuck!” Sirius exclaimed, but Professor Sprout didn’t take any points from the House as he cursed loudly. (Y/N) saw a thin stripe of blood drip from the bite; it didn’t look dangerous, but every student in the room knew it was very, very dangerous.

“(Y/N),” the professor said calmly, taking hold of the girl’s arm, “this will sting,” (Y/N) did not have any time to react to the woman’s words. The tip of Professor Sprout’s wand sent a jet of icy blue light at (Y/N)’s arm, “Glacius.” She had completely frozen the girl’s arm, keeping the poison from spreading from the bite.

A sum of frightened whispers ran through the air; they were probably all waiting for the girl to drop dead.

“Mr Black, please take Miss (Y/L/N) to the infirmary, and try doing so without starting a bickering contest,” the professor looked at Sirius, sending him a stern look.

“Um, yes, Professor,” they wasted no time, rushing out of the greenhouse.

“Damn it, Black! This is all your fault!” (Y/N) muttered at him angrily.

“My fault, you didn’t pay attention, (Y/L/N)!” He snapped back at her but kept his arm around her to make sure she didn’t fall as they walked up the hill towards the castle.

“Yes, but you distracted me!” she raised her voice.

“Only because you insulted me!” Sirius replied.

“I’m sorry that you fragile male ego is more important than my life, Black, but I don’t fucking care!” she slapped him with her good hand.

He grabbed her hand before she could hit him again, holding on to it. “You know, you should come with a warning label, (Y/N) (Y/L/N).”

She laughed a little, “Oh, I should?”

“Shit, your arm is turning purple, (Y/N),” he looked at her bite mark.

She tried to wiggle her good arm out of his grip, about to hit him again, but he held on too tight. “I swear, Black, if my arm is permanently purple after this, I’ll kill you in your sleep!” she yelled at him.

Sirius laughed.

“I mean it,” she told him as they entered the main building, heading down to the infirmary.

Poppy Pomfrey gasped as the girl walked in with a frozen, purple arm. “Mr Black, have I not seen you enough times this week already,” she told the boy helping her inside.

“I would argue, Poppy, that you can never see someone as handsome as myself, too many times,” Sirius joked, handing the girl, who now had a faint smile on her lips, over to the nurse.

“Asshole,” (Y/N) whispered as the nurse helped her over to one of the infirmary beds, she wasn’t told off.

“I’ll just stay here, in the corner, all by myself, worrying sick about your health, (Y/N), ” Sirius dramatically yelled over at the two witches as (Y/N) sat down.

“Yeah, you do that, Black!” she yelled back, but Madame Pomfrey told her to keep still and ignore him.

“I hope your arm stays purple!” he shouted, laughing at his words.

“Fuck you!” (Y/N) replied loudly, but the nurse looked angry at her at that.

“Will it? Will it stay purple?” (Y/N) asked scared, looking as the woman smiled a little.

“Of course not, Miss (Y/L/N), I’ve treated these types of injuries long enough to heal skin discolouration in my sleep,” she smiled.

“Thank Merlin,” she whispered under her breath, casting a curious look over at the wizard in the corner. He had stayed true to his words, standing perfectly still, watching as the nurse healed her.

After three complicated spells (Y/N) had never heard of before and a horribly bitter potion, her arm was back to normal.

“I would like for you to stay under observation for a few hours before I check you out, Miss (Y/L/N), in case of any complications,” Madame Pomfrey told her with a warm smile.

“Thank you, Madame Pomfrey,” (Y/N) replied politely.

“Mr Black is free to stay if he would like so, just so he won’t, what was it, Mr Black, ‘worry sick about your health’? I don’t want you sick inside my infirmary more this week,” she told the raven-haired boy, who gave the older woman a sheepish grin.

The woman left as Sirius moved towards the Slytherin.

“I hate you,” (Y/N) muttered heated.

“I love you,” Sirius replied.

“Whatyoujustsay?” (Y/N) looked at him, eyes wide.

“Nothing, I was just trying out that ‘heat of the moment, expressing our suppressed feelings for each other’-thing,” Sirius brushed a hand through messy locks. (Y/N) sat up from her bed, turning towards him with a baffled look, not knowing what to say.

“This is your cue, (Y/N); you’re supposed to do the same,” he smirked, moving his hands nervously as he spoke. Sirius seemed to have apparated towards here. He now stood only a few inches away.

“I hate you, Sirius Black,” she whispered. He heard her. It was his cue. He kissed her.


Putting potatoes on a pizza started out as a joke. Actually, the joke was putting something referred to as potato sauce on a pizza. What the heck is potato sauce? Gravy? Cheese sauce? I was ready to tackle the challenge.

The more I thought about it the harder it became. If I was going to put potatoes on a pizza I knew I would also add roasted garlic, crispy pieces of bacon and cheese. That was easy – it was the sauce that threw me. Gravy seemed too weird. If I did gravy, would I leave off the cheese? Surely I wouldn’t do both.

After consulting one of the best cooks I know (a daughter), she came up with the idea of using pesto sauce. Wow! We were making progress!

The pizza I ended up was epic. Those creamy, toothsome bites of red potato were perfect. I took the time to roast whole heads of garlic, and the mellow, sweet cloves were incredible with the pesto and the bacon. It’s not low calorie and it’s labor intensive, but it was worth it!

Sue’s potato pizza with potato sauce pesto, roasted garlic, and crispy bacon


  • 1 pound fresh pizza dough (I picked up some whole wheat dough from my favorite grocery store)
  • Whole cloves from two heads of roasted garlic
  • 4 small red potatoes, cut into ¼-inch (5mm) rounds
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup (approximate) basil pesto sauce
  • 1 ½ cups grated mozzarella cheese (approximate)
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked till crisp and crumbled


Punch down the dough and let it rise again in an oiled, covered bowl until doubled in size.

In the meantime, roast the garlic. Let the garlic cool, remove cloves, and set aside.

Put the sliced potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with an inch of cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes just until they’re tender in the middle when poked with a knife. Spread a drizzle of olive oil on a sheet pan. Drain potatoes and lay them in one layer on the prepared pan. Drizzle with a little more oil. Season the potatoes with a little salt and pepper and let cool.

Put a ceramic pizza stone in a 450 degree F oven and heat the stone for 40 minutes.

Flatten dough and shape into 12-inch round. Place the round dough on a pizza peel coated with cornmeal. Remove the heated pizza stone from the oven and slide on the dough. Return to oven and let bake for 3 or 4 minutes. Remove crust from oven again. Spread pesto sauce on dough. Sprinkle with most of the cheese. Top with potatoes, garlic, and bacon. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Return pizza to oven and let bake until crust is crisp and cheese is spotty golden brown.


“‘I wooden, Mr Charlie, I really wooden,’ mumbled Jock, moodily gnashing his toothsome way through the bunch of grapes he had brought me. ‘I mean, you know the aggro you’re going to get if you try to complete that project, if you’ll pardon the expression.’
‘Honestly, Mr Charlie,’ he pleaded on, ‘don’t do it. I beg of you. It’s bloody madness, you know it is. Playing with bleeding fire, that’s what you’re doing Mr Charlie.’
‘Enough, Jock!’ I commanded, raising a commanding head. ‘I am touched by your concern for my personal safety but my mind is made up. I must strike a blow for the free world while I still have my strength.’
‘Well, Mr Charlie, I daresay you know best,’ said Jock in glum tones which belied his words, ‘but I wooden be in your shoes for anythink when Madam gets back.’ The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery, pg. 7-9

BelGoioso’s Burrata is a small round of stretched cheese, which is hand-pulled around fresh curds and heavy cream. It appears very similar to Mozzarella, but don’t be fooled—the clean, lactic-smelling cheese can be split open to spill out its curd and cream center.

The flavor is similar to its aroma, clean, fresh and lactic. The texture of Burrata is a toothsome outer layer and a rich, delicate interior.

A classic serving suggestion is to place it on a salad of tomatoes and basil with a light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Burrata is best paired with a light white wine such as an Italian Vermentino.