Eating from a charcuterie board is really like eating family style, sharing off a platter. Although putting together a charcuterie board is quick, it invites a slow food approach to meals; especially if you've chosen most of your foods with the farm-to-table idea in mind. It's fun to eat a meal as a family and realize that you can trace back where you've bought or made most of your food. Plus, it helps kids' grow their food literacy.
It often feels like my children are always changing their mind, without warning, about what food is palatable. What passed as acceptable one day, can morph into tears the next time it's served. One of the reasons, I love putting together a charcuterie platter is that there's bound to be several things my boys will eat and quite often they'll try something new I've included in the spread.
How to Make a Charcuterie Board for Kids
First, you'll want a board to place all this kid-friendly finger food on. A large wooden cutting board works well since you can prepare the food right on the board and then transfer it to the table. We bought a wooden serving board since we eat ‘charcuterie-style' often but using a few platters also works. If you like serving meals in this style, consider investing in some cheese and jam spreader knives, their size makes them so easy for kids to serve themselves.
Typically a charcuterie board consists of meat, cheese, and other savouries that complement the flavours. Based on my own trial and errors with two young kids, I recommend following this loosely depending on any allergies, your family's diet, or even the contents of your fridge; have fun with making this meal!
- Spreads: Think hummus, jams, pestos, and nut or seed butter. Put spoonfuls in small dishes to encourage little amounts.
- Bread & Crackers: Cut them up into small slices or quarters. I've noticed my children like to use the variety of ingredients to make mini-open sandwiches.
- Fruits: Right now we're loving fruits that are in seasonal like peaches, figs, apples, and coronation grapes picked up from a farmer's markets.
- Vegetables: Heirloom baby tomatoes, mini piles of sprouts, and our favourite, roasted root vegetables (sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots).
- Meats: Turkey, salami, sausage, pulled pork….
- Hard-Boiled Eggs: Easy, kid-friendly, filling!
Now onto the cheese, part of the main event in a charcuterie board!
Unless your children like stronger and stinky cheese, to keep this board kid-friendly, you'll want to keep those in the fridge. In my efforts to buy locally made food, I use Ivanhoe cheese. I usually stick safely with an old cheddar but the last time my family ate from a charcuterie board, I introduced in a simple variation with speciality flavours: Salsa and a flavoured Monterey Jack. They liked it! I've promised my kids they can visit the factory where our cheese is made one day, open year-round and located in Ivanhoe, Ontario.
One tip I've learned from serving charcuterie boards to my kids is to present some familiar foods in a different way than they'd usually eat them. This provides them with choices they will eat while also encouraging some flexibility about how it will be eaten. For example, including thinly sliced apples on our table has led my boys to stack the slices on bread with pieces of cheese, turkey, or seed-butter rather than munching on the fruit alone. It's a simple shift that's inviting some fun experimentation with food.
Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
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