Granny Bells, the Night Hag, has captured a PC (half-elf bard) and plans to eat her, as hags are wont to do. Granny Bells has a preference for sour and bitter food and an extensive array of monster parts and spices available for her cooking adventure. She's originally from Chult, but has since moved to Barovia, so she has access to ingredients from the Tomb of Annihilation campaign and the Curse of Strahd campaigns, as well as all items listed in the core rulebooks.

What should she throw into her cauldron along with the half-elf to get as sour and bitter a half-elf-soup as she can manage?

The ingredients must be:

  • Actual cooking ingredients listed in one of the 5e rulebooks or the Curse of Strahd or Tomb of Annihilation adventure modules, described as especially bitter or sour


  • Part of a monster from a 5e rulebook or the Curse of Strahd or Tomb of Annihilation adventure modules, described as especially bitter or sour. Granny Bells is not particularly concerned about the ethics of killing sentient monsters to prepare her food. (Obviously.)

All ingredients must also be edible for a hag. Assume the hag can eat essentially anything that is not made of rock/metal. Poisons and such do not bother her, but she's not going to eat a sword.

A required ingredient is a half-elf, obviously, but she's got that part covered. Granny Bells is not well versed in cooking and operates under the assumption that more ingredients is better, so the best answer will be the one that throws in the most bitter and sour ingredients. She'll get a bigger cauldron if need be.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you just looking for a list of things specifically described as sour and/or bitter? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 30, 2019 at 13:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical And they have to be edible (to a hag, anyway, so human edibility isn't particularly important), but essentially, yes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Jul 30, 2019 at 14:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion (even for great cooking puns); this conversation has been moved to chat. Feel free to sprinkle cooking puns liberally in there. :) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 30, 2019 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe this will be closed because of how difficult it is to answer a list question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jul 30, 2019 at 15:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso Voted to reopen. This is a very tightly bounded list question, no reason we can't answer it. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Jul 30, 2019 at 15:11

2 Answers 2


There are mentions of possible bitter ingredients in ToA:

  • Sinda Berries:

    These berries are dark brown and bitter

  • Assassin Vine's fruit:

    The fruit is tough and has a hearty but bitter flavor.

Curse of Strahd does not seem to have anything specifically called out as being bitter or sour, nor could I find other references within your constraints to possible bitter or sour ingredients using D&D Beyond search

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sdjz There has to be garlic in Barovia. Garlic could be added (I'm not gonna make an answer to just say 'garlic' tho. All yours.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Catar4
    Jul 30, 2019 at 14:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Catar4 Sure, there's probably a lot of things that we can assume are bitter or sour naturally but I think the question is specifically asking for things being called out as such \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Jul 30, 2019 at 14:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Curse of Strahd does not seem to have anything specifically called out as being bitter - Besides Strahd himself? ;-) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 30, 2019 at 14:53

Depending on a DM's interpretation, Xanathar's Guide to Everything provides an item that might take care of this all by itself - Heward's Handy Spice Pouch (p. 130):

While holding the pouch, you can use an action to expend 1 of its charges, speak the name of any nonmagical food seasoning (such as salt, pepper, saffron, or cilantro), and remove a pinch of the desired seasoning from the pouch. A pinch is enough to season a single meal.

It has 10 charges, and regains 5-10 each day, so it can certainly handle several seasonings in one meal.

This leaves two big questions which would require adjucation.

  1. Firstly, is the stew this hag makes in her cauldron "a single meal"? That might depend on whether she eats it all at once, perhaps.
  2. Secondly, does any natural ingredient which is typically used for flavoring count as a "nonmagical seasoning"?

    If both of these answers are judged to be "yes", then the Handy Spice Pouch can provide a cauldron's worth of various flavors - anise, rhubarb, wormwood extract, persimmon juice... As well as anything particular to Faerun or Barovia.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Very clever and nice find, but OP requested specifically ingredients in the sources that state they are bitter or sour. Heward's doesn't do this :( \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Jul 31, 2019 at 0:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ While I agree with @NautArch that the spice pouch isn't a direct bitter/sour ingredient, I gave this answer a +1. It gives the hag the ability to have even rare seasonning other answers might give AND is a special "useless" loot (some might say for flavor) that the players might enjoy more than 3 pounds of paprika. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 31, 2019 at 8:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ While this is indeed not really what I was looking for, it's an incredibly clever item she should most likely have laying around for when she runs out of ingredients, so you got a +1 from me. ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Jul 31, 2019 at 16:20

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