In this blog series, Erica discusses ways to introduce children to the diverse flavors of cheese. Starting with the challenges of new and unfamiliar cheeses on a young palate and moving through ways to make try new foods fun, she will explore expert advice, nutrition facts, and a world of recipes with the goal of making cheeses of all kinds accessible to kids. Last week, we talked about throwing a kid-friendly fondue party. Follow along and try some of the tips in these posts to see if we can get your child from string cheese lover to stinky cheese lover, and comment below for your chance to win a free issue of culture or a cheesy giveaway!
Summer is coming to an end – have you gone on a vacation yet? Traveling with small children can be a challenge, but it’s so worth it when at the end of the journey you get to see their faces light up in response to the destination. For the trip itself, games, puzzles, and books can all help make a car, plane, or bus ride go a little smoother, but for a moment of golden silence, you’ll want to make sure you’ve brought along their favorite snack: cheese. We’ve thought up some kid-friendly, on-the-go snacks you can take on your adventure, so your little ones will never ask the dreaded question: “Are we there yet?”
String cheese is always a favorite among the younger crowd, and it’s easy to travel with. Plus, kids love to peel it apart – it’s an activity in itself that will keep young children entertained for a short while. For a slightly more hearty option, Parents.com recommends wrapping a half or whole string cheese – depending on your kid’s appetite – in deli meat, like turkey or ham, for an easy meat-and-cheese roll up. Try to avoid using toothpicks, which could create some problems during travel time, but instead pack the roll-ups tightly, seam side down, in an airtight container. String cheese can also be cut up in smaller pieces, arranged on a wheat wrap, and covered in marinara sauce to create a homemade cheesy pizza rolls. Roll up the wrap and stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds until the cheese is slightly melted. For short trips, store the pizza rolls in foil – for longer ones, stick them in an airtight container.
Portable cheese bento boxes are a healthful option for a travel-friendly snack. They’re packed with protein, easy to transport, and offer a variety of textures and flavors, so your kids can sample, share, and enjoy. Travel-wise, maybe the virtue that most highly recommends a bento box is that eating out one doesn’t require utensils, and it’s easy to clean up. Smarter Travel recommends packing harder cheeses, like cheddar, Gouda, or Swiss, since they won’t get too soft or oily at room temperature. Pair these cheeses with grapes (depending on the age of your child, grapes can be a choking hazard for tots) or pretzels to add some variety to this healthy snack.
Josh Capon, a chef at Lure Fishbar and father of two small children, agrees that a variety of cheeses and meats is a great to-go snack for kids. While traveling, he often packs a French baguette, cured sausage, a selection of cheeses, and crackers, so his kids will have options for a snack. They can make mini sandwiches with cheese, meat, and crackers, or just munch on the ingredients by themselves.
Now that we’ve prepared you with some travel-friendly, kid-friendly accompaniments to your summer adventure, all you have to do is choose a destination. This time of year, the Vermont Cheese Trail is gorgeous – it showcases the state’s finest artisan cheesemakers, and features a variety of beautiful B&Bs and quaint inns along the way. Plus, your kids will love seeing the animals, watching the cheesemaking process, and gaining hands-on experience with cheese.
Tell us about your ideas and experiences with traveling with your kids! Share your story in the comments below and you could win a free copy of our summer issue! Plus, one lucky commenter will be chosen from all the comments in this series to win a kid-friendly prize package of cheese from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Association. Comments must be posted by 11:59 p.m. on July 23, 2014 to be eligible to win.