Season 8 is Coming…and It’s Delicious
With the final season of Game of Thrones approaching, die-hard fans and casual observers alike will celebrate by attending or throwing a (Night’s) watch party. Just like in our world, food is at the center of many important moments in the Seven Kingdoms, from the Red and Purple Weddings to Lord Frey’s assassination and many others. To help inspire your own watch party menu, we’ll reminisce on meals from Westeros and beyond and look at Game of Thrones recipes you can enjoy as-is – or modify for a more modern palate.
This region of Westeros is home to one of the wealthiest families – House Lannister – and their lavish lifestyle is reflected in what they eat. The warm and sunny climate in King’s Landing means growing fruits and vegetables is not a problem, and it’s close proximity to Blackwater Bay ensures a plethora of food options. Some popular dishes include lamprey pie, pigeon pie, suckling pig, boar, and wine. Lamprey pie is – you guessed it – made of lamprey. Yeah, the creatures that live underwater, latch onto other living things, and suck their blood. This may turn some stomachs, but in medieval times, lampreys were a delicacy that symbolized royalty and wealth. King Henry I had an unhealthy obsession with lampreys that led to his death, and now, lampreys are endangered in the UK and protected under British law. In Season 2 of GoT, Tyrion Lannister eats a lamprey pie and talks to his sister, Cersei, about battle plans.
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For formal public events, pigeon pie is a popular dish that can provide a memorable display and be made large enough to feed a lot of guests. The one at Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding was baked hollow so live pigeons could be stuffed inside, and Joffrey sliced the pie with his sword, freeing the pigeons while killing a few in the process. Want to make pigeon pie for your watch party? Check out this recipe for a small, modern take on this medieval classic – and if you decide to craft a pigeon pie like Joffrey’s, be careful not to stab the birds.
Lemon cakes are another important Game of Thrones food from this region, serving as Sansa Stark’s favorite dessert. Since her home, Winterfell, rarely grows fruit, she enjoys any moment she gets to eat them. Lemon cakes are typically handheld and reserved for the upper-class. You can dine like royals with this recipe for lemon cakes, which features medieval and modern versions to suit any party.
As far as drinks go, wine is the typical choice in King’s Landing. Arbor gold is the finest and most expensive vintage in Westeros, while Dornish reds fall close behind since they are spicier, more sour, and usually an acquired taste. You can check out some Game of Thrones wines here.
But what about the less fortunate people in King’s Landing who live in Flea Bottom? Well, they use what they have on hand and make something called “bowl o’ brown.” This is a soup or stew that can consist of anything, but typically includes fish or pigeon meat when available, and more commonly includes rat or cat meat. The stew also has whatever vegetables can be found at the time and would occasionally be eaten with bread. Try this bowl o’ brown recipe, which thankfully skips the rats – and the cats – in favor of beef.
This is the largest region of the Seven Kingdoms, but the most notable areas are Winterfell and Castle Black. In the North, most agricultural products don’t agree with the frigid climates, so most dishes are based around game meat in a stew with root vegetables. Some popular foods are mutton stew, kidney pie, and ale. Kidney pie is made using calf kidneys, pastry dough, and gravy – which is the most important part according to Hot Pie. Just like chicken pot pie, there are almost too many versions of kidney pie to pick just one (who knew?). This Game of Thrones recipe walks you through how to make a kidney pie yourself; while this one is more traditional, you can make it your own by adding vegetables, such as peas and onions, like Nan did for Jon and Sansa at Winterfell.
As far as memorable Game of Thrones food goes, Hot Pie’s direwolf bread is close to the top of the list. The first bread he makes Arya is more of a scone than anything, but he reworks it and bakes her a better version, the iconic bread we all recognize, the next time. To make your own direwolf bread, follow this recipe and represent the North and the Starks at your watch party.
As opposed to the wine in King’s Landing, Northerners love ale and drink it like water. (They’ve been stressed about winter coming since season 1, and they’re closest to the Wall, so I say, “Let them drink!”) You’ll find some Game of Thrones ales here with great names such as “King in the North,” “Mother of Dragons,” and “Hand of the Queen.”
Dorne, the Iron Islands, and Beyond Westeros
The food in Dorne is spicier than other regions and has a Mediterranean vibe since it is coastal. A popular dish in Dorne is stuffed green peppers. This Game of Thrones recipe uses jalapenos, but you can use other peppers if you want to tone down the spice.
The Iron Islands also sit on the coast, so fish is a big part of their diet. You can channel your inner Greyjoy and please the Drowned God by making this fish pie.
The Dothraki worship their horses, but there aren’t a lot of resources in the wilderness of Vaes Dothrak, so most meals consist of horse and goat meat with a few fruits and vegetables. If you’re feeling really adventurous and touched by the Great Stallion, you can try this blood pie recipe that uses blood sausage and ground lamb.
“Winter is Coming” was first said by Ned Stark in season 1, and winter is finally here. We don’t know what the final season has in store for us, but we’re pretty sure it will be intense and full of tragedy. Hopefully, eating some Game of Thrones food will provide some comfort and ease the pain while we watch our favorite characters’ fates play out. Remember, the night is dark and full of terrors – but your watch party can be full of authentic meals even Cersei would love.