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I think I tried eating a date when I was ten or eleven. I did not like it.

Sixty years later, I’m changing my mind. Suzi and I needed to bring a “lite” appetizer to a holiday party. We knew they were serving steak, so we needed something with a touch of sweetness and ideally some complexity.

What better idea than to take those dates — which I now realize are sweet — and add some savory components. We’d done a bit of research and some combo of meat and cheese is the pairing often suggested.

Here the meat is soppressata or Italian dry salami. The cheese? A Welsh cheddar from our local supermarket. You can mix and match at will here, either on different days or for the same platter of dates. The dish will always be satisfying but gives you the latitude to generate many, many flavor combinations.

Stuffed Date Appetizers

Yield: as many as you want [plan on 2-5 per person]


  • Dates
  • Soppressata [or the sausage of your choice or just ham or prosciutto]
  • Cheddar cheese [or your choice, from soft brie or blue to something hard]


Open up each date and add some soppressata and a wedge of cheese. Arrange on a platter.

For serving, this appetizer has the legs to stand up to almost any beverage: red wine, sparkling, or a cocktail of your choice.

Personally, I like a full round of Spanish cava, sparkling and tingling in my mouth to contrast with the sweetness of the date and the ping of the cheddar cheese.

Source: Suzen O’Rourke

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4 for 1/40th second at ISO‑1000