What Exactly Is the ‘Grey Stuff’ From Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’?

It's delicious!
It's delicious! / HarshLight, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

In Disney’s 1991 animated classic Beauty and the Beast, everyone’s favorite French anthropomorphic candelabra Lumière entertains hostage-cum-guest-of-honor Belle with the most literal interpretation of the phrase dinner theater that ever was: “Be Our Guest.”

During the performance, Lumière flourishes a tray of hors d’oeuvres and encourages Belle to “try the grey stuff; it’s delicious!” Perhaps realizing that it sounds more like something you’d scrape off a fish filet than actually eat, he reassures her with a cheerful “Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes!” But by then, Belle has already sampled a sizable swipe of the mystery goo and seems to agree that it is, in fact, delicious.

And you don’t have to take a cartoon candle holder’s word for it. The grey stuff is sold at various eateries in Disney Parks, and the recipe has also been published online. To make the confection, you first prepare instant vanilla pudding with whole milk. Then, put some chocolate sandwich cookies through a food processor and mix them into the pudding, along with your “whipped topping” of choice and a few tablespoons of instant chocolate pudding powder. Chill the dessert in the fridge, pipe it onto sugar cookies, and sprinkle some sugar pearls on top for a fancy finish. You can see the full recipe here.

While the sentient appliances in the castle kitchens definitely didn’t have access to instant pudding mix and Oreos, there’s a good chance they would’ve known how to make chocolate mousse. It’s been around at least since the mid-18th century; and the Beast, being a prince from roughly that era or later, would’ve likely been served the best dishes that French chefs had to offer. If the grey stuff in the film looks like a far cry from any chocolate mousse you’ve seen, maybe the Beast’s servants passed their time in captivity by putting a new spin on all the old recipes.

In the 2017 live-action remake, however, production designers did away with anything even remotely related to dessert. The grey stuff that Ewan McGregor’s Lumière offers Emma Watson’s Belle is pretty clearly caviar.