This Christmas Tree Fruit & Cheese Platter is an adorable way to spruce up your holiday table. It’s a basic cheese board with fruit that’s totally customizable and great for holiday parties or just something fun for the kids on Christmas.
Cheese Boards are all the rage right now. I mean, there are even books on how to make a cheese board. I love a good cheese and when paired with the right things, a good cheese platter can be the absolute hit of your party.
My daughter and I set out one weekend to create a fun and festive fruit and cheese platter for the holidays and this Christmas Tree Fruit & Cheese Platter was born. Now I do not take credit for the idea, because I have seen several similar fruit platters floating around. However, we picked the fruits and cheeses that we like and felt that rosemary gave the look and feel of a real Christmas tree. Pretty, right?
What Usually Goes In A Fruit Tray?
When planning your Christmas fruit tray, be sure to take into consideration seasonal fruits, allergies, and your own personal tastes.
Grapes – You can usually find some variety of grapes year round, so whatever your store has on hand will work.
Berries – I live in Southern California so berries are plentiful any time of the year. Cranberries would be pretty (although not really edible) on your tray.
Oranges – Clementines or Mandarins are in season and would be fun to layer.
Kiwi – Add some beautiful green to your tree with this winter fruit.
Apples and Pears make great additions, just be sure to soak the slices in water for 30 minutes so they will resist browning.
Other things I love to add are nuts, cheese, and fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme.
How To Plan A Fruit & Cheese Platter
Choose your fruits and cheeses. Keep in mind that not all fruits pair well with cheese. For example, bananas and oranges do not; grapes and berries, do. Depending on what fruits are in season where you live, you have a variety of options. I like to include a variety of cheeses. Mix some sharper, firmer cheeses like sharp cheddar, Parmesan, and blue cheese with some milder, softer cheeses like jack, colby, and mozzarella. Texture is as important as taste. Here is a great article on what NOT to pair with cheese.
Plan the layers. Start with the cheese that you feel will be most popular, like cheddar, and layer that on the bottom. I actually drew this out on a piece of paper first so I would know how much of each cheese to cut. I figured Parmesan is one kind of cheese that most people wouldn’t eat a ton of so I placed it at the top. The middle cheese layers are colby-jack and Gouda.
Shape the tree with a flat layer first. Starting with the bottom layer, in this case the cheddar cheese, make a single layer of cheese in the shape of the bottom of the tree. Then add a single layer of fruit, then the next cheese, and so on up the tree shape until you get to the point at the top. Once you have the basic shape, start filling it in with more cheese and fruit to make your tree shape fuller.
Garnish. I used some fancy parsley for the top of the tree, but you could use star shaped crackers or even cut a star shape out of one of the cheeses. The “needles” of the tree are just bits of rosemary that I tucked into any empty spaces (it works great as filler for your fruit and cheese platter Christmas tree!).
That’s it! Easy peasy, and you have a beautiful fruit and cheese platter for Christmas that is sure to impress your guests. Make sure to include toothpicks so your guests can easily grab their favorites.
How far in advance can you cut fruit for a fruit tray?
Depending on the fruits you’re using, you can cut up to 3 days in advance. Things that brown quickly, like apples and pears, should not be cut more than a few hours in advance, and should be rinsed with water or soaked in a lemon water solution.
How much cheese per person?
Plan on roughly an ounce and a half of cheese per person for an appetizer.
How much fruit per person?
About ½ a cup per person should be enough.
Add some crackers, crunchy breadsticks, or pretzels on or near the cheese platter.
Have some pretty toothpicks nearby for guests to serve themselves without having to use their fingers.
If your board or background won’t accommodate the shape of a tree, try creating a Christmas fruit wreath!
Cut the cheese into bite sized chunks. Wash the fruit, plucking the grapes off of the vine or cutting them into small clusters of 4-5 grapes each.
On a large flat serving board, arrange a single layer to shape the tree. Start at the bottom and work your way up: Cheddar cheese, then green grapes, then colby-jack cheese, red grapes, gouda, green grapes, parmesan, and finally blackberries.
Once you have the initial shape, you can build up the tree by adding more layers of fruit and cheese.
Once you are happy with the shape, begin tucking in small sprigs or rosemary and parsley to fill out your tree. A star cracker would be a cute addition at the top if you can find them.
Amounts are approximate. You can use more or less of any ingredients, depending on your taste. Use any type of firm cheese you like. I just listed the ones I prefer. Same with the fruit – I think grapes work best because they don’t leak juices or turn brown, but you can use mandarin orange slices, berries, apples (soak in lemon juice first), kiwi.
Let us know how it was by leaving a review or sharing on Instagram with the tag #yellowblissroad
Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.