A kind-hearted and hopeful boy from an impoverished family dreams of finding one of the five coveted golden tickets, which will allow him to tour the mysterious chocolate factory of the reclusive Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder).
Released in 1971, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a delectably wondrous film filled with a plethora of food moments, and given that the film centers around an elusive chocolate factory, needless to say, most of these food moments involve candy, particularly chocolate. Seeing as it is the very beginning of a brand new year, I thought what better way to honor the occasion and start the year off with a bang here on food & a film, than to feature one of the most iconic confection-filled films of all time.
The first notable food sequence in the film occurs within the opening credits, which consists of close-up shots of various chocolate candies being made in a factory. Such shots include liquid chocolate being mixed, cocoa beans being ground up to powder before becoming liquid chocolate, wafers being coated with chocolate, and various other chocolate candies in large quantities on conveyor belts, and finally, a massive sheet of wrapping paper adorn with hundreds of Wonka logos that will be cut apart and used to wrap individual chocolate bars.
Shortly following this opening credits sequence, a bunch of schoolkids upon their release from school, run into Bill’s Candy Shop. Bill (Aubrey Woods) greets the kids from behind the counter and as they make their confection requests, he retrieves and hands them treats such as a Sizzler, a Triple Cream Cup, and Squelchy Snorter. Bill also introduces the newest Wonka candy to his customers: a Scrumdidilyumptious Bar. Then while singing the song, “The Candy Man,” Bill parades around his shop, showering his exuberant audience with various scrumptious sweets.
After Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) stops to look longingly inside the candy shop window, he heads home where he finds his family about to begin eating their dinner, which looks like some type of soup. Charlie then declares, “I’m fed up with cabbage water. It’s not enough.,” before he goes into his bag and pulls out a gorgeous loaf of bread asking, “How about this?”
The next food moment occurs in a montage featuring Wonka bars flying off the shelves of various stores throughout the world after the golden ticket contest has been announced. Following this sequence, we meet the first golden ticket winner: Augustus Gloop (Michael Bollner). This introductory scene of Augustus takes place in a restaurant in Duselheim where we find him stuffing his face with food such as bratwurst and sauerkraut. A broadcast interviewer then asks Augustus, “How does it feel to be the first Golden Ticket finder?,” to which Augustus replies, “Hungry.”
Following this restaurant scene, there are a few small sequences that feature food including Charlie opening a Wonka chocolate for his birthday; Mr. Salt’s (Roy Kinnear) peanut factory being used to hunt for a golden ticket for his daughter, Veruka (Julie Dawn Cole); the introduction of Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson) who is an incessant gum chewer; Charlie inhaling a Scrumdidilyumptious Bar at Bill’s Candy Shop; and Augustus eating a powdered sugar pastry as he waits to be let into the chocolate factory.
The next major food sequence occurs when Willy Wonka opens the door to the main factory room, which is a literal candyland; practically everything in the room is edible. Then, one by one, we see shots of all of the guests enjoying the various sweets beginning with Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) and Charlie eating candy canes, then Violet taking a bite of the ear of a giant gummy bear, Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen) scooping up hard candies from the ground that have fallen off a tree, Varuka eating handfuls of jam from the inside a large melon candy after cracking it open, Mr. Beauregarde (Leonard Stone) taking a bite of lengthy licorice, Augustus chomping away on a candy ball picked from a candy shrub, and Mrs. Teevee (Nora Denney) sampling cream from one of the spots on a candy mushroom cap.
We then see Wonka eat a leaf from a candy tree before picking a daffodil shaped teacup & saucer from a candy flower patch, taking a few sips from his teacup, and then biting into it.
In addition to all of the candy trees and shrubs, there is also a massive chocolate waterfall that flows down into a chocolate river, which runs through the factory. We then see a group of Oopma Loompas come out and Wonka declares that its creaming and sugaring time. Augustus then begins to drink from the chocolate river and inevitably falls in, and as Wonka watches Augustus being taken downriver by the current, he snacks on some chocolate, seemingly unfazed, and rather intrigued.
Following the tour of the candy-coated warehouse, the next notable food moment occurs when Violet chews a piece of three course gum, which is still in its testing phase. As Violet begins to chew the gum she exclaims, “Madness! It’s tomato soup! It’s hot and creamy. I can actually feel it running down my throat!” Violet then confirms, “It sure is great soup!,” before saying, “Hey, the second course is coming up. Roast beef and a baked potato!.” Laughing, Mr. Beauregarde, asks, “With sour cream? What’s for dessert, baby?,” to which Violet replies, “Dessert? Here it comes! Blueberry pie and cream! It’s the most marvelous pie I’ve ever tasted!” As soon as Violet gets to the dessert course, her face begins to turn blue and she starts to blow up into a giant ball, resembling a human blueberry. Wonka then informs the Oopma Loompas that she will need to be taken to the juicing room to be squeezed since she has filled with juice.
The final food and drink moments in the film occur during the last few stops on the factory tour. The first is the lick-able wallpaper that Wonka invites everyone to try saying, “Lick an orange, tastes like an orange. Lick a pineapple, tastes like a pineapple.” As everyone begins to lick the wallpaper, Mike first exclaims, “Mmm, I got a plum!,” before Charlie says, “Grandpa, this banana’s fantastic! It tastes so real!” Wonka then says, “Try some more. The strawberries taste like strawberries. The snozzberries taste like snozzberries.”
The next stop on the tour is the fizzy-lifting drinks that Grandpa Joe and Charlie sneak a swig of as the group continues toward the next room. When Grandpa Joe and Charlie come down from their fizzy-lifting drink high, they find the rest of the group watching a gaggle of geese laying golden chocolate eggs. Veruka then proceeds to sing about how she wants a golden goose of her own, and the lyrics of the song reference wanting a bean feast with cream buns and doughnuts, and fruitcake with no nuts, as well as has additional references to pink macaroons, a bar of chocolate, and ten thousand tons of ice cream. Finally the last drink moment in the film comes when the Oompa Loompas are gassing up the Wonkamobile. Grandpa Joe asks, “What’s that they’re filling it up with?,” to which Wonka replies, “Ginger ale, ginger pop, ginger beer, beer bubbles, bubble cola, double cola, double-bubble burp-a-cola that carbonated stuff that tickles your nose.”
For my vegan Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory pairing, I decided to take inspiration from the three course chewing gum and prepare all three courses beginning with tomato soup, then a slice of roast and a baked potato, with blueberry pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert.
I also included a fizzy drink that could be either a nod to the fizzy-lifting drink Grandpa Joe and Charlie have, or it could be one of the many carbonated sodas used to power up the Wonkamobile. And lastly, no Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory food pairing would be complete without at least a little bit of candy, so in addition to the Wonka bar I assembled, complete with golden ticket, I made sure to include a bunch of everlasting gobstoppers, although they look quite different from the mystifying everlasting gobstoppers featured in the film.
Finally, for the table setting, in addition to my Wonka chocolate bar prop, I found a purple velvet fabric for the tablecloth that felt similar to the one used to make Willy Wonka’s iconic jacket.
Thank you so much for reading this month’s installment of food & a film! As I mentioned last post, this year I will be publishing one post a month on the first of every month. There also might be additional posts as the year goes on, but for now, I hope you enjoyed January’s post! Make sure to check back next month for a brand new pairing. Happy New Year!