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Christmas Appetizers

Cheeses and Grapes Appetizer Tree

Cheeses and Grapes Appetizer Tree

Every year I put fresh vegetables and cheeses on my Christmas Eve buffet.  Most years I forget to photograph and post them, probably because I don’t think of making the displays as a “recipe”.  I’ve made some adorable displays, my favorite being the Santa I made from red cherry tomatoes, cauliflower and other vegetables.  A close second would be the tree I made from broccoli and decorated with cherry tomatoes and loops of several colors of sweet bell peppers.  Neither of which I posted.  Such a shame!

This year I did remember to photograph my piece de resistance: a tree of cheeses and grapes.  It was even easier than my usual yearly displays but just as popular as we nibbled our way through the buffet.

Cheeses and Grapes Appetizer Tree

Cheeses and Grapes Appetizer Tree

Grapes are a hit or miss produce item in the grocery stores this time of year.  Sometimes they’re not quite sweet enough, or tart enough, or crispy enough.  I got lucky and these red and green grapes were both very good.  I only had to wash them and remove them from the stems and they were ready.

Standing in front of various cheese displays, I kept in mind that most of my family like the less fancy cheeses.  And many of them are children who don’t have very discerning palates.  I went simple with a horseradish cheddar, a smoked cheddar, a cracked black pepper cheddar and good old Monterey jack cheese.  That was a good variety.  I bought them in bricks and cut them into cubes.  I remembered to cut the labels off to display with the cheeses to prevent confusion.

Cheeses and Grapes Appetizer Tree

Cheeses and Grapes Appetizer Tree

With my grapes and cheeses in their zippered plastic bags I washed and cut up fresh parsley that would garnish my display.  I’d also bough a little tub of red cherry tomatoes and a tub of golden zima cherry tomatoes.  I used a zima as the top of my tree.  I put the rest of the tomatoes into crystal dishes on the side with the leftover grapes later.

On the day of our family Christmas gathering (New Years weekend) I placed a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and assembled my tree.  I could have made it a bit nicer using a cutting board or other container but I was rushed and this was family, not a UN cocktail party.  Nobody was judging me.

Cheeses and Grapes Appetizer Tree

Cheeses and Grapes Appetizer Tree

I arranged alternating strips of cheese cubes and grapes and tapered them to the top as a Christmas tree.  My tree was a bit plump and not so pointed, but nobody noticed.  I used a piece of celery for the stalk and put the cherry tomato on top, as I mentioned.  Then I remembered to take pictures before opening the buffet.  Another successful year of food fun!

Cheese and Grapes Christmas Tree

  • Servings: Nibbles
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fun appetizer tree made with grapes and cheeses.


– 4 kinds of cheeses; cut into 3/4″ to 1″ cubes
– Red and green grapes; washed and removed from stems
– Parsley for garnish
– 2″ piece of celery for the trunk
– Cherry tomato for the top
[/recipe-ingredients]


Arrange on a parchment paper covered baking pan or platter of choice in strips, from wide on the bottom and narrowing toward the top.

Garnish with pieces of fresh parsley. Top with a cherry tomato or another piece of cheese cut into a star.

Adapted from ciao! Newport Beach

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