Kick off the holidays with this festive Christmas Appetiser – an Italian Cheese Log! It’s like an antipasto platter in dip form packed with minced salami, olives, peppers, green onions, a hefty dose of Italian seasonings, AND topped with sun dried tomato.
Terrific easy, make-ahead economical alternative to expensive cheese platters – and bursting with the holiday cheer!!!
A FESTIVE CHRISTMAS APPETIZER IDEA!
Bringing on some Christmas cheer with this festive Italian Cheese Log!! It’s a far cry from your usual cheeseball with a handful of token flavourings. This one is jam packed with flavour…. loaded with Italian flavours!!
The secret ingredients in this are finely chopped salami and sun dried tomato. Taking the time to mince the salami really makes a difference because then it’s all throughout the cheese log – nobody wants to be that person who takes a giant scoop of dip only to find it’s completely devoid of salami!
As for the sun dried tomato – well, I contemplated putting it in the cheese log, but I simply couldn’t resist how great it looks when piled on top. Add a few sprigs of rosemary, and it just looks so fabulously festive – it’s a perfect Christmas appetiser for sharing!!
WHY YOU NEED THIS IN YOUR LIFE!
It would be so easy to ramble on and on about how great this Italian Cheese Log is, but you don’t need that. So let me just get right down to why you’ll love this!!
Looks fabulous – a great Christmas appetiser made for sharing!
Tastes incredible – packed with flavour!
Make ahead – keeps for up to a week*
But can also be scaled down
Economical alternative to expensive cheese platters
Adaptable and versatile! Skip the salami to make it meatless, change up the add ins!
* Subject to shelf life of salami
AN ANTIPASTO PLATTER – IN CHEESE LOG FORM!
I just love the colours in this. Even making it brings on the holiday cheer – look at all those colours! ↑↑↑
We’ve got salami, olives, chargrilled peppers (I like to use the jar with mixed colours – yellow and red – just for extra colour), cheese, and a nice hit of freshness from minced green onion.
Add a good dose of Italian seasonings – I like to make my own simple mix here but you can absolutely substitute with an Italian seasoning mix – then simply mix it all together, scrap into a loaf pan or freeform it into the shape of a log and refrigerate.
The refrigeration time is to firm it up so it can be turned out onto a platter and also to give it time for the flavours to meld. It’s terrific made on the day, but it’s even better the next day… and the next… and the next!
QUICK FESTIVE LOOK
Decorating it is my favourite part – the beauty of it being that it’s so easy!! I literally just dump an entire jar of sun dried tomatoes over the top – oil and all.
The oil is infused with flavour and it’s part of the overall eating experience. So with every bite, you have crisp salty crackers, the soft flavour packed Cheese Log, some extra pops of flavour from sun dried tomato AND juiciness from the sun dried tomato oil.
Ahhhh, it’s the perfect bite!!!
If your people are more civilised than mine, then consider serving this Italian Cheese Log with small cheese knifes to spread onto crackers.
But if your people are like mine, you’ll skip the cutlery and just let everyone dive in with their hands, grabbing crackers and dunking it straight into the cheese log.
Yep, it’ll get messy. All that effort you go to, prettying it up and they are going to annihilate it.
And that’s totally ok. That’s what sharing food is all about, right?? Especially during the festive season! – Nagi x
CHRISTMAS APPETISER – ITALIAN CHEESE LOG!
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Christmas Appetiser: Italian Cheese Loaf
Recipe video above. Looks so festive, easy to make and a flavour bomb inside! Terrific economical, make ahead alternative to expensive cheese platters. It’s like an antipasto platter in cheese log form! Adaptable and versatile! **Can freeform it instead of using loaf pan**
- 500 g / 1 lb cream cheese (, softened (Note 1))
- 1/3 cup sour cream ((Note 2))
- 1/2 tsp EACH thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, black pepper (OR 1 tsp Italian Seasoning)
- 1 tsp EACH garlic powder, salt, red pepper/chilli flakes ((adjust to taste))
- 2 cup cheddar or other cheese (, freshly grated (Note 3))
- 280 g / 9 oz roasted peppers (, drained and finely chopped)
- 180 g / 6 oz salami (, finely chopped (Note 4))
- 3/4 cup green olives (, finely chopped)
- 1/3 cup green onion (, finely minced (3 – 4 stalks))
- 220 g / 7 oz sun dried tomato strips with OIL (, roughly chopped)
- 1/4 cup parsley (, finely chopped (or chives))
- Rosemary sprigs ((decoration))
- Jatz or other crackers (, for serving)
- Spray a loaf pan with oil then line with cling wrap with overhang.
- Mix Cheese Log ingredients together. Taste and adjust salt if needed (bear in mind saltiness of crackers you are serving with).
Scrape into loaf pan and level surface, pressing to remove air pockets. Smaller pan = taller loaf.
- Cover with cling wrap overhang and refrigerate for 4 hours+ (up to 1 week).
- Turn out onto platter, peel off cling wrap.
- Top with sun dried tomato and pour over oil. Garnish with parsley and rosemary sprigs to give it a festive look.
- Best to serve closer to room temp than fridge cold. Serve with crackers! Knives for smearing optional – it’s soft enough to scoop with crackers.
1. Cream Cheese – I use Philadelphia blocks. In the UK and some parts of Europe, cream cheese only comes in tubs and it’s softer, like the spreadable kind. If you can only get the spreadable kind, skip the sour cream.
2. Sour Cream – or yogurt or mayonnaise. Forgot to add it in the video, had to add it later off camera! It’s just to loosen the mixture a touch, makes it nice and easy to scoop with crackers.
3. Cheese – use any cheese you want. Skip mozzarella – doesn’t have enough seasoning for a recipe like this. For an authentic Italian experience, use Asiago which is an Italian cheese. Best to freshly grate – strands are finer so they blend through better. Store bought tends to be chunkier grates – if you use pre shredded, give it a rough chop.
4. Salami – I use hot! I buy the large round presliced salami from the deli, makes it easier to chop (see video). Salami packs a good flavour punch and is a key flavouring element in this recipe.
5. Freeform – Scrape onto cling wrap, roughly shape into log. Roll up like a sausage and twist ends. Keep twisting ends to tighten the log – will smooth out the shape. Refrigerate, then once cool you can mould it more.
6. Customise it! Switch out any of the add ins for whatever you want. To make it meatless, skip the salami but add 1/2 cup of grated parmesan (will give it a great flavour punch). Other ideas: artichokes, capers, any other type of olives you want, pickles/gherkins finely chopped, any other pickled vegetable or antipasto type things. Finely chopped cooked chorizo or crumbled bacon, even ham!
LIFE OF DOZER
Cute Christmassy photos of Dozer is all part of the Christmas tradition. Except…… he fell asleep mid photo shoot!