Cheese boards aren’t just for adults anymore. Here are my top 10 tips for creating the ultimate kid-friendly cheese board that kids will love and the host will serve proudly at the main table.
Choose Kid-Friendly Types of Cheese
Creating a cheese board that kids crave starts with cheeses they will happily eat. When it comes to kids’ tastes, I choose milder varieties of cheeses such as a mild cheddar over a sharp cheddar. I grew up eating Cache Valley Creamery Cheese so you can say I speak from experience in knowing Cache Valley’s cheeses are quality, real cheese high in protein and calcium. I recently spotted Cache Valley’s new package design. As a type geek and designer myself, I’m loving the new sleek but wholesome look that matches the quality ingredients inside and in all the kid-loving flavors, including those below:
- Mild Cheddar
- Colby Jack
- Pepper Jack
- Monterey Jack
- and of course, Mozzarella String Cheese—also available in Lite 2% Milk Mozzarella and the new Whole Milk String Cheese for added nutrition
Wrap ’em and Stack ’em
There are plenty of creative ways to add more variety to your cheese board while creating interesting tasting flavor bombs that aren’t going to put the littles into shock.
Use pre-sliced thin cuts of the cheeses to easily wrap around fruits or sliced veggies, meats, and bread or pretzel sticks, like:
- Sliced Havarti with thin slices of ham wrapped around cantaloupe or melon, apple or pears slices
- Provolone wrapped pickled asparagus
- Mozzarella wrapped breadsticks, pretzels, or thin jerky snacks
- Pepper Jack wrapped chunks of hot dog or cocktail sausages
Use cubes of chunked cheese as a base for stacks of snacks on toothpicks, like:
- Cheddar cheese chunks with sliced deli turkey and blackberries or grapes
- Mozzarella chunks with thin sliced ham and cherry tomatoes
- Swiss cheese chunks with cucumbers and cubed watermelon
- Monterey Jack with a cube of French bread, pepperoni and black olive
- Sliced chunks of string cheese wrapped in thin-sliced salami
Make It Finger-Friendly
Kid-style cheese plates are made for grazing on the go. Make each of your bites into finger-friendly portions and avoid requiring too much need for layering or creating nibbles on their own.
When plating your platter, choose different colors and shapes of veggies and arrange them so the same colors don’t sit next to one another. Instead, place them opposite one another. When working with odd numbers of the same color or type of ingredient, position them as you would see on a clock at 10:00, 2:00 and 6:00.
Add Fruit and Veggies to Make Mom Happy
When put in front of them, kids love fruit and vegetables as much as adults, as long as it’s the right type of fruit and veg. Again, keeping it basic is key.
- Vary the selection of fruits and veggies by color, crunch factor and simplicity in preparing and picking up.
- Cut some in wedges, some in coin shaped slices, and some in longer lengths to add variety to your platter’s pleasing eye.
- Place round shaped veggies and fruits strategically to soften hard edges or separate colors too similar.
- And be sure to avoid using anything too juicy or watery, or you’ll end up with a soggy plate.
Other Bites Kids Will Go Nutty For
Adding a variety of nuts boosts the protein factor even more and adds a bit of salt that makes everything taste that much better. I serve the nuts in small ramekins in the center of the plate, creating a target for the eye to land on. The ramekins also keep the nuts tidy so they don’t roam about the plate. Stick with kid favorite nuts that are already shelled and won’t make a mess, and watch out for heavily flavored nuts with spices, smoke or salts that could dominate the rest of the items on the platter.
Add a Sweet and Savory Dip
Cheese and crackers always taste great on their own, but adding a little slather of somethin’ somethin’ makes each bite extra special, like:
- Honey mustard
- Jams or jellies
- Peanut butter
- Fruit dip
- Ranch dressing
- Tzatziki yogurt and cucumber dip
- Pesto (plain, or mix it with Greek yogurt or sour cream)
And there you have it. The cheese board of every kids dreams, and one adults will heartily munch through too. Watch out moms and dads. The kids have arrived and are here to stay!