I’m calling this an Epic Charcuterie Board simply because I wasn’t sure I could name it, “What to Eat While Watching Game of Thrones or Outlander.” Because that’s how allll of this came to be in our kitchen. One night, about 3 years ago, we discovered the neverending saga of Westeros, and we paired it with what you see here.
One episode in, I was madly in love with the Stark family. One season later, my heart was wrenched from my chest in classic GoT style, leaving me completely dumbfounded and naively hopeful for some form of redemption for the beloved Starks.
Obviously, I did not read the books. A satisfactory jaunt on Wikipedia told me everything (I love spoilers – don’t judge).
The story itself is fascinating, and despite the heartbreak, turmoil, graphic conflict, and whatever other horrible things you can think of, I really do believe it reflects a genuine history that reaches across all continents. Its parallels to the War of the Roses speak to that. It reflects humanity in all of its good and (mostly) bad, and while I respect it for that, it makes it awfully hard to watch.
That’s why I view each new episode through my fingers and perhaps a blanket, if one is on hand. Truth be told, this board of yums is what has kept me going and will keep me going until the series finally ends (and we all breathe a sigh of relief that the journey is finally over). Something about red wine, those stellar opening credits, and the medieval-esque scenery makes this board irresistible.
It also pairs beautifully with Outlander, or what my dear husband calls “Game of Thrones for women.” It’s amazing and I’ve been obsessed for a full year and a half. WATCH/READ IT.
In the name of discretion, the term “epic” is purely subjective. I started researching charcuterie boards merely to make sure the name meant what I thought it meant, and I was met with article after article dripping with sophistication and pretension. That’s a harsh, defensive way to say I was intimidated by what I saw… In depth musings on different types of pate, a discussion of what level of smokiness you want your dried meats to contain, the varying degrees of soft and hard cheeses… I shrunk back into my homely shell of Costco groceries and $3 bottles of wine like an abashed turtle.
So I decided not to rise to that level of sophistication, purely because it is not who we are. Instead, I went with what we’ve done for the past 3 years, a tried-and-true mixture of price-savvy dried meats, cheeses, fluffy breads, pickled something-or-others, nuts, fruit, and a healthy heaping of spicy whole grain mustard. And it was delicious.
In the past, we layered all of the ingredients on a plain Jane cutting board we had, or a silver platter we got for our wedding. A few months ago, I met the people from Ode to Wood and became the owner of a lovvvvvely wooden trivet cutting board with a matching trivet bowl (spoiler – it also spins). I’ve used it to chop, prep, and serve food, but this by far has been my favorite use of it. It was a subtle, beautiful serving platter that perfectly complemented the rustic vibe I was going for (whether in the realm of Westeros or 18th century Scotland – your choice).
If you do in fact want to try and recreate this board, consider it a guide, not a strict rulebook. Linger in your grocery store’s deli department and grab whatever dried meats call to you, or whichever ones have the coolest labels. Thoughtfully peruse each different cheese, all with a mask of confidence and knowledge that makes the workers behind the counter regard you with an air of respect and reverence. Find the classic tiny pickled gherkins, or go for a spicy alternative like we did – jalapeno-stuffed green olives. Generously sample the array of breads lining the bakery counter, sneaking a squeeze here and there to test for freshness, Wonder Bread style. From there, scrounge in your pantry for some dried fruits, nuts, and whatever fresh fruit is lurking on the edge of expiration.
Oh yessss. Compiling the ingredients may be the very best part. Book/TV rants aside, this also makes for a great treat for get-togethers or dinner parties. But I highly suggest finding a binge-worthy TV show that embodies this array’s age-old characteristics, and enjoy the experience.
- Dried salami
- Dried Italian sausage wrapped in crushed peppercorns
- Aged Irish cheddar, cubed
- Garlic-infused Gouda cheese
- Classic French bread, sliced
- Whole grain bread, sliced
- Dried cherries
- Nut mixture
- Mandarin oranges
- Purple Grapes
- Spicy whole grain mustard
- Arrange ingredients on a serving board as you like. You can slice the meat, cheese, and break beforehand, or leave whole with a knife for guests to cut on their own.