Cheese Boards are the ultimate form of a delicate and graceful snack. Whether served with tea or juice, they are always an amazing delicacy at parties. However, when you have children involved, exotic flavors and expensive cheeses fail to impress. You need something less complicated, something easily eaten and scrupulously enjoyed. Here are our tips for creating a child-friendly charcuterie board.
What You Will Need?
A charcuterie board is more than just about cheeses. Salted entrees, meats, dips, sweets, fruit, and vegetables are very important requirements to make a good cheeseboard. Here are things you will need for making a kid-friendly cheese board.
|Cheese||2 – 4 Items|
|Protein||2 – 3 Items|
|Dip||1 – 2 Items|
|Crackers||2 – 3 Items|
|Vegetables||1 – 2 Items|
Keep Things Creative
Harsh cheeses and complicated dips are not the way to go when catering for children. You need to bring out some creativity to keep the interest of the children active. The board should be so attractive that the kids can’t help but take a piece of what’s on it. You can have vegetables and fruits cut out in fun shapes. Arrange everything in alternating shades to keep things colorful. When it comes to what the items should be, the answer is to keep things simple. Add simple and commonly liked cheeses, crackers, nuts, dips, fruits, and meat. You can choose all of these according to what the children like.
Choose a nice board too. A baking sheet or a very large tray works. Focus on the surface area and not the depth. Items cannot be piled on top of one another so the depth is not relevant. The length of your dish is important, the more space you have to place items besides each other, the better.
Items to Add in a Cheese Board
To keep your cheeseboard creative and tasty at the same time, try decorating it with the following items.
Common and Easy Cheeses
Blue-Marbled cheeses, Aged Gouda, Mascarpone, Manchego, and Parmesan Cheese are very popular additions to the charcuterie boards. Yet, kids usually steer clear of cheeses like these. If you want to make sure your kids enjoy the board, go with child-friendly cheeses. Mozzarella, mild cheddar, Colby jack, pepper jack, and Havarti cheese are some kid’s favorites. The cheeses aren’t very strong so the kids will surely enjoy them, and they taste so good, even the adults won’t mind.
Here are a few types of Cheddar Cheese – What are the Different Types of Cheddar Cheese?
Crackers and Biscuits
Crunch is every child’s favorite texture when it comes to food. Crunch is also a very nice contrast to the creaminess of the cheeses. You can choose between pretzels, toasted slices of bread, salted crackers, rice crackers, and fresh mozzarella sticks. Doritos and potato chips are also very nice choices. The crackers and chips add a very nice saltiness and freshness to the board. Make sure to have at least 2-3 crackers or chips on your board. Stay away from crackers that are not easy to bite because the kids might just leave them half-eaten and nobody wants that.
Meat is important for any good cheese board. Not only is meat a good source of protein, but meat is also easy on the taste buds, and kids just love it. If your children are fans of cured meats, you can add leftover sausages or salami. Other very easy choices are chicken fingers, chicken nuggets, rolled-up deli meat, and a good quality jerky. Make sure you keep your meats in small sizes that are easy to pick up.
Dips are an important accompaniment to bread and meat. People usually add pesto, bruschetta, balsamic dip, ranch dip, salsa, olive oil, hummus, tzatziki, and grainy mustard to their boards. Kids may enjoy some of these too. The easiest dip to add to a cheese board for children is smooth peanut butter or ranch dressing. Children love peanut butter and ranch, and this will surely get their attention.
Fruits are lifesavers, they’re rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins, and iron. Eating lots of fruits helps protect against cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and inflammation. Also, they are perfect for providing an assortment of flavors and textures. The fruit section of your board can have berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
Some other fruit choices are apples, peaches, plums, grapes, mango, pineapple, and watermelon. This depends on what fruits your kids enjoy, and how much space you have. If you have space to, you can add all of these together. If not, you can choose according to your preference.
With cheeses and crackers, it is also necessary to make the cheese board healthy. While kids are notorious for not eating their vegetables, it is possible to tempt them if you try decorating your cheese board with them. The trick is to find vegetables that are crunchy and sweet.
Baby carrots, mini pickles, cucumbers, olives, snap peas and cherry tomatoes, are usually gone within minutes. Don’t choose vegetables that are mushy or fibrous in texture, as they are difficult to chew. Vegetables that are bland or have a lot of seeds should also be avoided.
When talking about children, sweets are always the right choice. Go with chocolate. Hershey’s kisses or Kit Kat are very standard. You can also have candies like gummy bears and M&M’s. Just make sure to keep them in little amounts, or the children will ignore the vegetables and fruits altogether.
You can also keep finger peanut butter and jelly finger sandwiches to twist things a little. Dark chocolate and cheese are also a mouthwatering combination together. If you think that the children will just eat the sweets and leave everything else, we recommend that you make a separate cheeseboard which is just to be made sweet only.
Suggested Reading – Quick Comfort Foods for Cheese Lovers
Nuts contain the perfect amount of salt to balance the sweets, fruits, and vegetables you’re adding. They are also rich in fiber, minerals, protein, vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. This makes them a very important part of any child’s diet and your cheeseboard. When adding nuts, consider adding cashews, shelled pistachios, and almonds as they are some good choices.
How to Assemble the Cheese Board?
Dice your cheeses, fruits, and vegetables into small pieces. Cut them in different shapes to add variety to your board. Some of them can be in cubes, others can be in slices or sticks. Avoid keeping anything large on the platter, as kids just rush towards things that are easy to eat. First, place a ramekin in the middle of the platter which will have the nuts. Then, arrange the cheeses on the edges of the platter, making sure you keep sufficient distance between them.
You should keep any soft and runny cheeses like soft mozzarella balls in the ramekin to avoid the oils running. The next step is to fill in the remaining space on the platter with other items. The trick is to keep things that go with a particular cheese around them. In the case of mozzarella, items like berries, peaches, and melons complement the cheese very well. For mild cheddar, the best combos are honey, olives, and grapes.
Keep the grapes attached to the vine, but cut the vine in smaller bunches so the grapes are easily eaten. The bread should be near the spreadable cheeses as it is the perfect combination. For the meat, you can fold your cured meat into tulips or fans. For chunks of meat, you can use toothpicks and make meat and cheese skewers. The dips go with the meat for easier access.
Make sure you alternate between different colors and textures. Keeping all greens and all bread together makes the board look unappealing. Keep your sweets, honey, and anything else you might choose, on the inside of the tray so they don’t topple over the sides. Also, remove the core and seeds of all your fruits.
Lastly, ensure the board is completely full. There should be no space on a cheeseboard. If you do have space, you can add more items. If you don’t have anything else to add, you can simply increase the number of items that you’ve already added.
Done with the Cheese Board? Here are some interesting cheese soup recipes – Easy and Delicious Cheese Soup Recipes
The easiest way to decide what should be on a cheese board is to add whatever your children like. Just make sure you add the necessary vegetables and fruits to give them the required nutrients. All the other things, from cheeses, to crackers and dips, are changeable. Keep everything small and easy to pick, and avoid hard flavors and textures. During the arrangement, keep the ramekins and jars in the middle, and the cheeses near the edges. Switch around colors and shapes to add more variety. Enjoy your cheese board!