Forget sending out a simple press release to promote a new television show. These days marketing executives know that you need something special to stand out from the crowd. Which is why last week saw cable giants HBO take to the streets of Manhattan with a food truck featuring menus themed around Game of Thrones, their much-anticipated adaptation of the best-selling fantasy novels by George RR Martin, which airs in the US and in the UK next week.
The trucks appeared in a different Manhattan location at 6pm each night last week, offering free food to the first 300 people on line. The menus were drawn up by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, the co-founder of the prestigious Gramercy Tavern and head judge on television cooking competition Top Chef, and included roasted rabbit with stewed pistachios and venison with baked apples.
In truth the idea is not as off the wall as it might seem – food plays as much of a role in Game of Thrones as swords, sorcery and sex. Indeed Martin's banquet scenes featuring 70-odd-course feasts, pigeons encased in pastry, and lemon cakes are so lavishly described that for many fans the main concern was that the truck food couldn't possibly live up to the source material.
The consensus: the stew, a spicy mix of squid and prawns in a black cuttlefish sauce with a great kick of heat from the "dragon pepper" (aka chilli) was good. It was just the sort of thing to take the chill from your bones.
'Game of Thrones' begins on 18 April at 9pm on Sky Atlantic