I have a oh so festive appetizer for your holiday entertaining, an O Christmas Appetizer Tree! Sure to impress your family and friends as a centerpiece of your party or buffet, you can customize one to your tastes, using meat, cheese, olives, cherry tomatoes, or any antipasto item that you can skewer with a toothpick! My tree is a combination of olives, cheese and cherry tomatoes that provide a festive pop of red as ornaments on this edible tree.
Start with a floral styrofoam cone, I found mine at Michaels. The styrofoam cones come in assorted sizes so you can scale this appetizer tree up or down to suit your crowd. Mine was 4 7/8 inches x 17 7/8 inches. The cones are also available in green, but the green was out of stock when I went to buy my cone.
Wrap your styrofoam cone in plastic wrap so the styrofoam doesn’t come in contact with your food.
To camouflage the cone, I wrapped it in collard leaves, so the white of the styrofoam didn’t show once the tree was assembled. Feel free to use any kind of leaf lettuce to wrap your cone. Kale would give your tree a pretty texture if you leave some of the areas exposed in between your edible decorations.
Collard greens are around $1.00 a bunch and are large and flat, so you can wrap your cone easily and quickly with just a few leaves. I removed the large stems from the collards before wrapping them around the cone, overlapping and attaching them with floral pins. You can find floral pins (also referred to as ‘greening pins’) on the floral aisle at the craft store or online.
I started with the cherry tomatoes as red ornaments, and placed them on the tree with toothpicks spacing them evenly on the tree.
Use a tube of denture adhesive cream (like Fixodent) and squeeze some on the bottom of the cone to adhere it to the cake plate to prevent it from toppling or shifting. I keep a tube on hand for candle holders to keep tapers upright.
Add your other ‘edibles’ with a toothpick. You can place them in rows if you like or in a more random fashion. I tucked sprigs of rosemary in between some of the spaces for some fragrant Christmas greenery.
Here’s an approximation of what I used for my 5 x 18 inch tree:
5 – 6 collard leaves
box of toothpicks
21 oz. jar Spanish olives
1 container of Kalamata/black pitted olives (from the olive bar at the grocery store)
Cheddar Cheese cubes, about 1 lb.
Colby Jack Cheese cubes, about 1 lb.
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
Star cocktail pick for a tree topper
I made this tree appetizer a day in advance, wrapped it plastic wrap and placed it on the screened porch where it stayed nice and cool until ready to serve. It did take a while to assemble but I put the Christmas music on while I was building it and I might have eaten an olive and a cube of cheese or two to keep up my strength. ;)
You might even find yourself singing along as you’re making your tree:
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
How tasty are thy branches. 🎼🌲🧀
If you’re looking for some other holiday entertaining ideas you might also like:
Quick and easy to assemble using cheese and grapes
Or a 10 Minute Appetizer, Spinach Tortellini Christmas Wreath!