Savory and Sweet Cheese Spears

Savory and Sweet Cheese Spears is a classic pass-around appetizer in the Netherlands, where cheese has been a staple of the Dutch diet for centuries. While there are technically only two types of cheese in the Netherlands: soccer-ball shaped Edam and flat, wheel-shaped Gouda, there are a great many subcategories. These are based on what the cows are fed (grass vs hay) and how long the cheese has been aged; the age range goes from young (less than one month) to old crumble (3 years plus) with many grades in between. Then there many additives like cumin seed, mustard seed, whole cloves, and so on. Cheese is eaten thinly-sliced on sandwiches and as snacks and appetizers. Savory and Sweet Cheese Spears were a “must” at parties at Jan’s parents’ house. As kids, he and his siblings were eager to participate in the preparation of Savory and Sweet Cheese Spears, as well as tasting along the way, as long as Jan’s Mom was not watching. The Dutch name, kaas prikkers, loosely translates to cheese stabbers or prickers. You will enjoy Savory and Sweet Cheese Spears, a real Dutch treat, at your next cocktail party and so will your guests; include Breaded Cauliflower too, an Italian favorite, and make it an international affair!

Savory and Sweet Cheese Spears

Total Time: 5 minutes. Yields 32 pieces.

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  • 12 oz of young Edam or Gouda Cheese*
  • 4 Red Cherry Tomatoes
  • 4 Yellow Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 sweet Gherkins
  • 4 small Cornichons
  • 2 Pitted Dates
  • 4 Pimento-Stuffed Green Olives
  • 4 small pieces of Crystalized Ginger
  • 4 Cocktail (Silver) Onions
  • 32 Toothpicks or Snack Spears


  1. Cut the cheese into 32 ¾ to 1-inch square cubes.
  2. Cut the gherkins and dates into bite-size pieces.  Make sure that any brine or pickling liquid has been drained from non-cheese ingredients.
  3. Spear a single non-cheese item with a tooth pick and then spear a cheese square. The spear should go just to the bottom of the cheese cube.
  4. Repeat until all the cheese cubes have been speared and arrange creatively on a serving platter.

Savory and Sweet Cheese Spears


  • Havarti, Fontina and Swiss cheeses are good alternatives if Edam or Gouda cheeses are not available.
  • Be creative with your toppings, sweet and pickled flavors work best. Try canned or jarred green chilis, pitted black olives, roasted red peppers, small sections of green onion, use your imagination.
  • This can be made up to 2 hours prior to serving, provided you refrigerate the Savory and Sweet Cheese Spears in an airtight container.


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