Holiday Appetizers

Having a party or going to one?

Cheese is always a great offering!            

Today Festival's Cheese Expert Cindy Schmidt shares some great cheese plate ideas for holiday entertaining.

Brie Bites


1              package phyllo sheets or phyllo cups

1              brie round

1              jar preserves

1/2         cup sliced almonds




Preheat oven to 325°F.

Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Cut rounds of phyllo sheets to fit down into each cup or just use phyllo cups, just place into the muffin tins right from freezer.

Bake for 5 minutes or until very lightly golden.

Remove from oven and fill with 1 teaspoon of sliced brie, 1 teaspoon of cherry preserves, and 2-3 almonds.

Return to oven and bake for 7-9 minutes or until brie cheese has melted and edges of phyllo are golden in color.


Artichoke Crostini



Garlic Toast

1⁄2 cup mascarpone

1 (6 1⁄2-oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts

2 tbsp. finely chopped chives

2 oz. parmesan, shaved thin with a peeler

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste



Place garlic toast on a baking sheet, heat in oven 325°F for about 3-4 minutes or until heated through.

Spread  1 tbsp. of the marcarpone on top of each toasted slice. Top marscapone with artichoke hearts, chives, parmesan, and pepper. Drizzle with Olive oil



Prosciutto and Boursin Cheese Appetizer


1 box of bread sticks (20 pieces)                                                               4 ounces softened cream cheese

4 ounces garlic and herb boursin cheese

14-16 slices proscuitto ham, sliced thin

8 ounces of arugula, washed and completely dried



With a hand mixer beat the softened cream cheese and the boursin cheese until well blended.

Slice the prosciutto in half longways.  Wrap the tip of a bread stick with the ham, add a smear of the cheese mixture, add a couple of arugula leaves.  Gently wrap the ham around the stick.

Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.  Makes about 10 servings.



Prosciutto-Wrapped Stuffed Dates


½ (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

⅔ cup crumbled blue cheese

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided

1½ (10-ounce) packages pitted dates (about 55 to 60 dates)

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1½ teaspoons sugar

2 (4-ounce) packages prosciutto (about 15 slices)

Garnish: fresh rosemary


In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed with a mixer until smooth. Add blue cheese and 1 teaspoon rosemary, and beat until combined. Spoon mixture into a heavy-duty piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe mixture into dates.

In a medium saucepan, stir together vinegar, sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until reduced by two-thirds (mixture will be thick and syrupy). Meanwhile, cut each prosciutto slice into quarters. Wrap each date with 1 quarter-slice.

Preheat oven to 350º. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place dates on prepared pan.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or just until heated through. Drizzle balsamic reduction over dates. Garnish with fresh rosemary, if desired.


Ricotta and Prosciutto Cracker Appetizer



7oz  Ricotta Cheese

1 tbsp minced garlic

1½ tsp olive oil

3oz Prosciutto

1 box Savoritz® Salt Crackers (about 45 crackers)

Salt and pepper to taste

Honey for drizzling





In a small bowl, mix ricotta, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper together. Set aside.

Cut prosciutto into triangles. The triangles should be small enough to top your crackers

Spread  just enough of the ricotta mixture onto each cracker, until each cracker is

thinly covered.

Roll each prosciutto triangle into a small cone-like shape and place each on a ricotta coated cracker.

Once all crackers are coated and topped with prosciutto, drizzle a small amount of honey over each. Serve immediately.


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