Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers

Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com

I’ve partnered with Harmons Grocery to bring you three easy Christmas appetizers to serve at your next holiday party.

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate

When I was first married, I did a bit of catering.  All of the wedding open houses I catered took place during the holidays.  I absolutely loved creating menus to reflect the flavors of the holidays.  The buffet table of my favorite open house consisted of tasty appetizers, a couple of really good green salads, and seasonal desserts. So today, I’m sharing some easy cheese appetizer ideas for the holidays to get you in the mood to entertain, plus a great recipe for apple chutney.

The guests at the events I catered would always nibble a little here and there on the salads and desserts, but it was the cheese-laden appetizers that they came back to the table for over and over again.

I learned a valuable tip:  Don’t go crazy with desserts.  Let the appetizers shine and be the star of the buffet table.  People are too overloaded with desserts during the Holidays.  They crave something savory, like cheese.

I’ve come up with these easy cheese appetizer ideas with the help of my friends at Harmons Grocery; using as many local ingredients as I could.  They are twists on familiar favorites that I know you’ll just love.

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate

GOAT CHEESE AND PEPPER JELLY

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate

The first one is as simple as can be with the classic pairing of creamy, fresh cheese, in this case chevre from a local farm, and a spicy raspberry pepper jelly, my new favorite Raz-Pepper from Pepperlane in Wanship, Utah.  I’ve used some crispy seeded crackers, but any cracker would do nicely.

This raspberry pepper jelly is incredible–sweet, fruity, tangy and spicy.  It was absolutely perfect with the goat cheese.  If goat cheese isn’t your thing, cream cheese would be a suitable substitute.

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate

BAKED BRIE AND JAM

For my second appetizer, I topped a big wedge of creamy imported Brie with my favorite fig jam from Butcher’s Bunches in Logan, Utah.

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate

The fig preserves are made with figs soaked in Limoncello and mixed with herbs–no sugar added.

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate

I can’t get enough of this jam.  (It’s good with just about everything.)  But it was magical on top of the Brie, baked for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven, spread atop Harmons’ house-made artisan sourdough bread, and oranges on the side.

 

CHEDDAR AND APPLES

 Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate

Cheddar and apples are the perfect pairing.  Harmons had some of their Bourbon Street Cheddar out for samples and I knew it needed to be topped with something apple-y and sweet.

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate
I threw together a quick Apple Chutney made from local apples, studded with pecans and dried cranberries, sweetened with brown sugar, flavored with apple cider vinegar, herbs and ginger.  (The recipe is below.)

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Appetizer Ideas
 
Prep time
Cook time
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A sweet and tangy apple chutney recipe loaded with dried cranberries, pecans, and herbs.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • a little olive oil
  • 2 cups diced apples (peeled or unpeeled)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pecan halves, broken into large pieces
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2-4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp. dried poultry seasoning (I make my own from equal parts rosemary, thyme, and sage)
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil and let it heat for a few seconds.
  2. Add the apples and cook, stirring frequently until they start to soften and release their juices. Add the pecans, cranberries, brown sugar, vinegar, poultry seasoning, ginger and pinch of salt.
  3. Cook, stirring frequently, until syrupy and thick. Cool to room temperature before serving.

 

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate
A sturdy cracker, thick slice of Bourbon Street Cheddar (or any good aged cheddar) with a spoonful of Apple Chutney is full of Holiday flavors.

FLAVORED CHEESE

A good, flavored cheese can stand alone on a buffet table.  Flavored cheeses are all the rage these days–their rinds rubbed with flavorful herbs and spices, and even chocolate and coffee.

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate

That beautiful slice of cheese with the dark edges is a bonus fourth appetizer.  I picked up a small wedge of Barely Buzzed, the award-winning favorite from Beehive Cheese.  It’s rubbed with espresso beans ground with lavender buds.  If you love cheese and you really want to wow your friends, add that to your buffet table.  It has the most delightful tingle from the espresso.

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate
And there you have four fabulous, easy-as-can-be cheese appetizers.  All that’s left is something fun to drink with it–wine, champagne, or sparkling juice.

Here are some pictures from my trip up to the new City Creek Center Harmons in Downtown Salt Lake City.

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate

They boast the biggest cheese selection this side of the Mississippi.  This is only about 1/6th of their selection in the picture below.  They have cheese from all over the world, including my beloved favorite local cheeses.

Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate

Each Harmons location has knowledgeable staff to help answer questions and offer advice when selecting cheese.  They encourage tasting too.  (Yes, please!)
Holiday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplateHoliday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplateHoliday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplateHoliday Entertaining: 3 Easy Cheese Christmas Appetizers | CafeJohnsonia.com #appetizer #christmas #cheeseplate

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