Sides and Snacks

Gold Coast Fruit Salsa + ULTIMATE Cheese Platter Tips

A 2-for-1 special: behold, your new go-to tropical fruit salsa and a game plan to building perfect cheese plates!

Okay friends! In penance for going silent on my recipes lately (I promise I will explain in time!) I’m going to share a two-for-one special posting. And do I ever mean special! Behold two of my favorite tropical cuisine pastimes: creating salsa and crafting charcuterie. I know, color me strange, but hear me out.

  1. Salsa frequently gets relegated into the Mexican food category. This is fine because it’s delicious (especially if it’s pico de gallo or salsa verde), but it’s limiting us from enjoying all the wonders of the salsa world. Enter: fruit salsa. This is the first recipe featured in this post, and will be your new best friend with chips, pork chops, fish tacos, cheese plates, etc.
  2. Charcuterie! At least in my Napa winery fueled vision of charcuterie, it’s shaped much more by stone fruits and berries than it is by tropical fruits. But Hawaii is a great reminder this need not be the case and there is no one-size-fits-all perfect approach to charcuterie. Also, for anyone who gets too in their head about the perfect cheese platter, there also really are no rules! Enter, recipe #2, my Sunset Cheese Plate, which is much less a recipe and much more guidance to keep in mind to build a balanced, delicious platter.


(Serves 2)

For the Gold Coast Salsa-

  • 1/2 mango, skinned and cubed (~1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 papaya, skinned and cubed (~3/4 cup)
  • 10 grape tomatoes, quartered (~1/3 cup)
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper

For the Sunset Cheese Plate-

  • 1 cup tortilla chips
  • 1 cup crackers
  • 2 mini cucumbers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup strawberry guavas, sliced
  • 4 oz. smoked Gouda
  • 4 oz. Brie
  • 1 cup Gold Coast Salsa


  1. Prepare your Gold Coast Salsa first: mix all ingredients in a serving bowl, stir, and enjoy! It will keep fresh in the fridge for 1-2 days in an airtight container.
  2. Next, onto your cheese plate! I have listed the ingredients that I used above, but please use them only as a guide. Cheese plates are your time to have fun and do you. Here are my recommendations to keep in mind as you build yours:
    • Eat the rainbow! The secret to a pretty cheese plate is lots of color.
    • Add some veggies! Cucumber or bell pepper slices are both healthy options to offer in addition to the classic crackers or chips. You always need some crunch, and veggies provide a triple whammy of crunch, color, and health.
    • Always have a hard cheese and a soft cheese! It adds variety and snack-ability so people can both munch on the cheeses and spread them. A good rule of thumb is 0.1lbs of each type of cheese per person.
    • Add fruit, jam, or salsa for a sweet garnish! Dried apricots are also a great cheese plate pantry staple if you don’t have access to fresh fruit readily.
    • Cheese platters are art not science! Don’t let anyone tell you there’s a set recipe— let you do you 🙂

I’d love to hear what you all think in the comments! What creative ways have you found to use my fruit salsa? And what are your go-to cheese platter ingredients or guidelines?

Happy snacking and happy days!

What am I listening to as I make this?Nobody’s Fault” by Benny Sings and Tom Misch

What can I learn while I make this? What strawberry guavas are! I had never heard about them till this time living in Hawaii, when I discovered them through the AllTrails comments on the Aiea Loop Trail (a great 5 mile ridge hike alternative for anyone on Oahu). They’re actually native to Brazil but were brought to the Hawaiian islands in the 1800s and are now very common across the Islands here at elevations from sea level to 4000 feet. Unfortunately, though the fruits are delicious, the plant is highly invasive and threatening to native wildlife— you can read more here!

What if I want something yummy with fruit and cheese but not this? Don’t worry– I won’t be offended! Check out these other ideas below:

Want more Carmel Kama’aina content? Follow me on Instagram. All my latest recipes, poems, and behind the scenes tricks are published first on Instagram. Sneak a peek below:

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