There are Bella Swan action figures and Team Jacob titanium rings for teenaged Twilight fans, but a Port Angeles restaurant owner may have created the ultimate tie-in product for "twi-moms."
Neil Conklin, owner of Bella Italia, this month released a frozen version of the mushroom ravioli he's served to more than 10,000 followers of the vampire series since the dish was featured in Stephanie Meyer's first book. Conklin believes the heat-and-eat entree is the world's first "film-based frozen food." (And Voracious contributor Leslie Kelly has already tasted it: Check out her review here.)
"We're kind of shamelessly exploiting this Twilight phenomenon," Conklin says. "For any restaurant to have something like this happen is extraordinary."
Conklin's restaurant served as the setting of Bella and Edward's first date. While the vampires never returned to Bella Italia - "they move on," Conklin says -- television crews from Canada, France and Japan have traveled to the Olympic Peninsula for Bella's chosen meal of Coke and mushroom ravioli.
"We've had groups of women visit us from as far away as Utah," Conklin says.
At the restaurant, Conklin uses wild mushrooms in his ravioli cream sauce. The 20-ounce frozen dish features portabella, cremini and button mushrooms.
"It's actually tasty," Conklin says. "It's got a rich mushroom flavor."
In a nod to copyright laws - and Conklin's wish to promote his restaurant - the packaging doesn't feature the word "Twilight" or any stark vampire imagery. But Conklin is confident that fans who flip over the box will immediately understand the significance of the Quileute Tribal School and Forks High School, both of which are listed as beneficiaries of ravioli sales.
"I thought long and hard about that, because initially I thought that we've got to put Twilight on here somewhere," Conklin says. "But we've been getting great feedback on the package. People like to see what they may be eating."
The frozen ravioli is now available at Metropolitan Market and through Amazon Fresh. Conklin is also selling the product online and at his restaurant, which he expects will draw a big crowd tonight in conjunction with the opening of the fourth Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn, Part I.
"You just get cast your lot and figure out what to do next," Conklin says.