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Christmas Appetizer Tree

Christmas Tree Appetizer Platter

If you’re searching for a touch of magic to elevate your upcoming holiday gathering, look no further than the enchanting Christmas Appetizer Tree. Say goodbye to the predictable cheese and cracker tray that graces most holiday buffets; instead, let this little art project take center stage. With its seasonal whimsy, the Christmas Appetizer Tree promises to delight your guests, offering not only a visual feast but also an array of fun appetizer choices.  An added benefit is the picks are easy to carry when guests are mingling with cocktail in hand.  Both delicious and delightful!

Supplies for Christmas Appetizer Tree

The heart of this appetizer tree is its structure.  Visit your local craft store for a Christmas tree cone form.  It will need to be made out of a material, like Styrofoam, that will easily accept and hold picks firmly.  After removing the store packaging, you will want to wrap the cone with plastic wrap.  This ensures your appetizer choices are not in direct contact with the cone, but rather showcased on a clean, food-safe canvas. 

You will also need toothpicks.  You’ll have some choices here as well.  You can go classic with standard, unadorned toothpicks or venture into seasonal charm with an array of themed party picks.

 Lastly, you’ll need a crowning touch.  I chose to use a cookie cutter to make a cheese star for the top.  However, let your creative instincts run wild as you contemplate the perfect tree topper for your edible work of art!

Styrofoam Christmas Tree Cone Wrapped in Plastic Wrap on Kitchen Counter

Appetizer Choices

I browsed the grocery store and my pantry for items that appealed to me and would look nice as Christmas Appetizer Tree decor.  My chosen ensemble included an array of choices: plain and peppered salami, mini mozzarella balls, a mix of vibrant green and Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, and dainty pickles.  I also selected tender dill fronds to embellish the tree at the end.  You can choose your own combinations depending on your taste and what appeals to you visually.

The amount of ingredients needed will depend on the size of the cone you choose.  In my case, I selected a medium-size at the craft store. A glimpse at the accompanying photo shows my jar selections. Notably, I doubled the quantity of mozzarella balls captured in the frame (with a handful left over) and opted for a generous package of cherry tomatoes. The salami, a key player in my appetizer combo, was a large, pre-sliced pack – half of which is displayed here.  I arranged any surplus on the platter below the tree. 

Lastly, I bought a small block of colby jack cheese.  A thick slice served as the perfect canvas for my star-shaped topper, while the remainder of the block was cubed on the platter beneath the tree.

Salami, tomatoes cheese and Olives for Christmas Tree Appetizer

Building the Christmas Appetizer Tree

Now comes the fun part!  This is where the magic happens, and you have the creative freedom to shape and mold this holiday centerpiece into your own visual feast.

A repeating theme in my tree was a combination of salami, mozzarella, and olive.  

Taking a circular slice of salami, I folded each side into the middle and then brought the top and bottom together, resulting in a charming squarish shape.

Securing with a pick inserted at the center, I added a tiny mozzarella ball, crowned with either a vibrant green or Kalamata olive.

Leaving a hint of the pick exposed will allow them to be easily plucked from the form.

Salami on Toothpicks on White Plate

Arranging Picks

As you begin to encircle your Christmas Appetizer Tree with picks, you can choose your own color and texture combinations.  I chose to alternate each row of my salami/mozzarella/olive picks with the colorful jewel tones of tomatoes, olives and pickles.  You don’t need to insert the picks to deeply, or they will be hard to remove from the cone.

Don’t be concerned about any gaps between the picks; consider them placeholders awaiting the finishing touches. You’ll have the opportunity to weave in additional embellishments at the end. In my case, the delicate dill fronds, as mentioned earlier, added a final flourish to my edible creation.

Salami Mozzarella and Olive Picks on Christmas Appetizer Tree Base
Mozzarella Salami Tomato and Olive Toothpick Base for Christmas Appetizer Tree

Creating a Fully Adorned Christmas Appetizer Tree

Let’s address the beautiful chaos that is the journey to a fully adorned Christmas Appetizer Tree.  I added these pictures below so you can see that there might be awkward stages.  I don’t want you to get discouraged if you encounter this in your build. 

On my own tree, I introduced tiny dill pickles about halfway up the form. I was drawn to their Christmas tree color and their subtle nod to evergreen branches.  Yet, when I reached the top, a sense of awkwardness and imbalance set in.  I reminded myself that I still had embellishments to add and trusted in their ability to elevate my design.  (Spoiler:  They delivered!)

At this point, I wrapped the tree loosely in plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator to stay cool while I arranged a platter for its presentation.

Building a Christmas Appetizer Tree

Setting Up the Platter

As my Christmas Appetizer Tree reached its final stages, I found myself with a delightful surplus of ingredients. Rather than let them go to waste, I turned them into charming ‘gifts’ to nestle under my tree.

To allow space for the tree on my platter, I used a bowl measuring the same diameter as my tree base to reserve carve out and reserve its spot.  I arranged all of my leftover appetizer items around it.

To complete my platter, I used half of the colby jack cheese block I purchased for the star-shaped topper. Transforming it into bite-sized cubes, I filled in the gaps, creating a delicious holiday “tree skirt.”

Platter Setup for Christmas Tree Appetizer

Star Topper

My crowning touch was the colby jack star.  I used a cookie cutter to make the form.  I’ll share a couple of tips if you’re considering adding one to your own creation:

Firstly, opt for a thick slice of cheese for structural integrity. A thicker slice ensures that, even if the toothpick isn’t inserted perfectly straight, your star won’t collapse, and the pick won’t peek through, maintaining a flawless tree-topper.

Secondly, I found that the smallest cookie cutter I had on hand was the one that worked wonders. The intricacies of a tiny star added a delicate touch and charm to my finished tree.

Cookie Cutter Star Cut from Cheese on Toothpick
Cookie Cutter Cheese Star

Christmas Appetizer Tree Finishing Touches

Now we’re ready to display our lovely Christmas Appetizer Tree!  Gently place it in the space you reserved on your platter.

To add a touch of natural elegance, I chose to drape dill fronds in any exposed gaps, creating a festive and delightful garland effect. Feel free to personalize this step with your herb of choice; perhaps rosemary to infuse an extra hint of holiday spirit.

With the artfully arranged tree now adorned with its lush greenery, it’s time for the pièce de résistance – the star. Nestle it atop the creation for the perfect finishing touch, transforming your edible masterpiece into a visual feast worthy of any holiday celebration.

Christmas Tree Appetizer Platter

As I stand back and admire my creation, I’m filled with joy, and I sincerely hope you experience the same delight with yours. May your holiday be filled with the warmth of shared moments and the joy of savoring delectable bites with your cherished guests. Wishing you a season of merriment and culinary delights – enjoy every festive moment!

Here are some other holiday ideas you might enjoy.  Share with me in the comments if you try one of them.  I’d love to hear from you!

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