How The Twilight Movies Sparked A Mushroom Ravioli Fixation

It's been over a decade since the first "Twilight" movie hit the big screen — the cast has changed a lot over the years — but every tween and teen who was alive during the 2000s understands the fanfare that surrounded the "Twilight" franchise. 

For those that never quite caught the "Twilight" bug, the series follows Arizona-raised teenager Bella Swan, who moves to Forks, Washington, and falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen. As she gets closer to Edward, and his family of fellow vampires, Bella gets entangled in a supernatural universe filled with vengeful vampires and enemy werewolf packs (via Rotten Tomatoes). When the "Twilight" saga first transformed into a worldwide phenomenon, phrases such as "Team Edward" and Team Jacob" became commonplace, and people began traveling to Forks, Washington, more than ever before.

To say that "Twilight" had an impact on the town of Forks would be an understatement. "In 2005, before 'Twilight' was published, Forks had about 5,000 people come through the visitors center, for the whole year," explained Lisa Andros, the executive director of Forks Chamber of Commerce, to Matador Network. By 2009, a whopping 69,000 people were visiting Forks every year. 

However, as all Twihards know, this saga did not just take place in Forks, but also in neighboring towns such as La Push and Port Angeles. These real-life towns have also been impacted by the niche form of tourism surrounding this fantasy romance series.

The Olympic Peninsula has a variety of wild mushrooms

In the first book of the "Twilight" series, Bella Swan and Edward Cullen go on a romantically serendipitous first date at Bella Italia, in Port Angeles. While Edward chooses not to order anything — he has other things to sink his teeth into — Bella orders a dish of mushroom ravioli (via Bella Italia). As it turns out, like a handful of other destinations in the franchise, Bella Italia really does exist (via Cheat Sheet). The one dish that customers can't get enough of? The mushroom ravioli.

In 2009, Bella Italia was doling out about 40 orders of mushroom ravioli a night, according to the Times Colonist. By 2011, Bella Italia had served over 10,000 orders of the dish, according to the Peninsula Daily News. "The dish stands on its own," shared Andrea Walden-Morden. The restaurant has named the dish the "Bella Mushroom Ravioli" which ambiguously could refer to both Bella Swan and the name of the restaurant itself.

Ironically, Bella orders this vegetable pasta because it's simply the first thing she sees on the menu. However, this dish piqued the interest of author Stephanie Meyer when she called Bella Italia to learn more about their menu. This Port Angeles restaurant, which specializes in using seasonal ingredients from the area, takes advantage of fresh mushrooms for good reason. Neil Conklin, the restaurant owner, shared with the Peninsula Daily News, "There are more varieties of wild mushroom in the Olympic Peninsula than anywhere else in the world."