You’ve probably done it. You open up a can of those fruit or veggie puffs, which are supposed to be healthy snacks for your child. You’re curious about why they like them so much, so you pop a couple in your mouth.
Most of us who have done that haven’t done it since. Yuck. But, sometimes you make up a plate of snacks for your son or daughter only to have them ignored. In the time you took to make them, they have found other things to amuse themselves.
Waste not, want not, as the saying goes, so you find yourself eating cheese cubes, apple slices or hot dogs cut up into tiny pieces. Not too bad, you think. But it needs something. Your efforts should be rewarded with a generous serving of an appropriate wine. Here are a few wine pairing ideas for your toddler treats.
Cheese cubes, string cheese, slices of American cheese — generally speaking, all cheese goes with all wine. But may I suggest a Cabernet Sauvignon? This full flavored, often fruity red wine brings out the flavor of the cheese and fills your mouth with a burst of fruit notes you can describe to your friends at your next wine and cheese party.
Maybe you are one of the few who likes these things. Veggie puffs and fruit puffs pair well with a Riesling, a dry, crisp white wine. Both the flavors of the wine and the puffs stay high on your palate, resulting in a light aromatic finish. Just be careful the puffs don’t stick to the roof of your mouth.
Apple or Banana Slices
Before the fruit slices go brown and you feel like throwing them away, pour yourself a bubbly glass of sparkling wine. Go sweet with a Spumanti or Muscato. The apple will taste even sweeter, and the bubbles will fill your mouth as they react. You’ll be tempted to make a bubbly fruit punch in the future.
Cuties or orange slices
“Cuties” is a brand name of mandarin oranges. The name tends to stick in your head because it’s so cute. They are small, easy-to-peel oranges that most kids love. Well, you can love them, too — with a bottle of Chardonnay. Chardonnays have an “oaky” taste with citrus undertones, which makes them pair perfectly. The sweetness of the orange tempers the oaky flavor, while the wine will accentuate the citrus and sweetness of the orange. You’ll be fighting your kids for the slices.
Adults love chocolate. Kids love chocolate. But wine and chocolate together? Yes, dark chocolate provides many health benefits while also being the ultimate treat, and it pairs well with wine. Red wine is best for bringing out the richness of the chocolate. Dark chocolate is best paired with a Chianti, a zinfandel or other robust red wines. The fruit notes of the wine harmonize with the sweet, salty and buttery taste of the chocolate.
Goldfish brand crackers come in several different flavors. Kids love them, and you may find them all over your house after opening a bag. They have a catchy song in their advertisements that easily gets stuck in your head.
I wouldn’t suggest eating them off the floor, but, when you do eat them, enjoy them with a glass of pinot noir. Pinots are full of flavor but smooth and not heavy. The spice in the cracker draws out the peppery undertones of the pinot noir, leaving a lingering but enjoyable bite.
You always pack granola bars whether you are going to the park, a playdate, a car trip and so on. They are probably many bars still freshly sealed in several of the bags you use. Break one open, and enjoy it with a chilled glass of Verdeca.
Verdeca is a dryer white wine from Italy that pairs well with the sweetness of the granola bar, especially if it has chocolate chips in it. The granola bar will mute some of the wine’s strong mineral flavor, and the crispness of this wine will temper some of the sweetness of the granola bar. You might be tempted to dunk the bar in the wine, and, if no one is looking, do so!
Peanut Butter and Crackers
Dip the cracker in the peanut butter and wash it down with a gulp of Grenache. Grenache is a red, lighter to medium bodied wine with a floral aroma. Sniff it while eating and enjoy that part of it, too. The crackers and peanut butter might overpower the flavor at times, but it will also bring out some of the subtle notes as well. The pair finishes off smooth with no aftertaste.
Carrots and Hummus
If your child doesn’t finish these, help them after pouring a glass of Pino Grigio, an Italian dry to semi-sweet wine. It’s got a sharp, zesty taste and is one of the most popular wines in the United States. It will bring out the sweetness of the carrots and provide a clean finish to the garlicky taste of the hummus. After you are done with the carrots, pour a glass and enjoy it on the porch.
Wine may help you may look at snack time in a whole new light. Instead of just making a plate for your child and going about your business, join in with a glass of wine. Pairing the right wine with the right food can make both even more enjoyable. Instead of wasting food, enjoy what’s left or make yourself your own plate. Kid food never tasted so good!
Jennifer Landis is a 27-year-old healthy living blogger who loves yoga, running, and dancing it out with her toddler! You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama, or by following her on Twitter: @jenniferelandis.