fine dining experience

Antipasto Christmas Tree Cheese Ball

Nothing says hostess with the most-est like a charming and delicious antipasto Christmas tree. This cheesy appetizer sculpture will help you decorate for your Christmas party and feed your guests all in one fell swoop. The base is essentially a cheeseball with all of the flavors you might find on a normal antipasto platter—marinated and pickled veggies, spicy cured meat, and salty, nutty cheese—all encased in smooth cream cheese and served with your favorite cracker or crostini.


  • 2 c. finely shredded Provolone
  • 1 c. finely shredded Parmesan
  • 2/3 c. chopped pepperoncini
  • 1/2 c. blanched almonds, chopped
  • 4 oz. salami or pepperoni, finely chopped
  • 2 marinated artichoke hearts, finely chopped (about 3/4 c.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 (8-oz.) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 oz. pitted marinated green Cerignola olives, halved
  • 4 oz. marinated Kalamata olives, halved
  • 2 oz. pitted marinated black Cerignola olives, halved
  • 4 oz. roasted red peppers, cut into 3/4" pieces
  • Rosemary sprigs, for decorating
  • 1 (1/2"-thick) slice fresh mozzarella
  • Crackers or crostini, for serving


  1. Step 1In a large bowl, toss Provolone, Parmesan, pepperoncini, almonds, salami, artichokes, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and red pepper flakes with a fork until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold cream cheese into Provolone mixture until well blended.
  2. Step 2Place 1 (24"-long) sheet plastic wrap on a cutting board or small platter with the long end facing you. Arrange another same-size sheet of plastic on top with the short end facing you. Pile cream cheese mixture into center of plastic. Drape plastic over cream cheese mixture and form into a Christmas tree shape, standing it upright. Tightly wrap shaped cheese in plastic and chill until cold, about 30 minutes.
  3. Step 3Remove plastic wrap from cheese. Gently pat olives dry with paper towels to remove excess marinade. Decorate cream cheese tree with olives, red peppers, and rosemary.
  4. Step 4Using a paring knife or a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out a star from mozzarella. Insert a toothpick into bottom of star and insert into top of tree. Serve with crackers alongside.