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12 Secrets to a Perfect Cheese Platter + Cocoa Almonds Recipe

We’re handing out a twofer today! We’re sharing tips for building a perfect cheese platter, plus the easiest way to make Chocolate Cocoa Almonds naturally at home. 

cheese platter

You know those funny lists that are titled “10 Signs that you are {fill in the blank.}”

Those give me the guffaws. Ones like this:

You Know You’re Married When…

1. Your wild weekend means a glass of wine and Netflix…(and you love it)
2. Your texts go from “Miss you, love you, can’t wait to see you” to “don’t forget the milk.”
3. You start texting someone in the middle of your spouse’s story.
4. Date night destination = Target

Yeah. There’s a lot more on that list, but I’m trying to stay on topic here.

I get a kick out of noticing couples at restaurants. You can totally tell which ones are on a first date. {And how well it’s going.} You can also tell which ones are newlyweds vs. married for years. 

With Valentines Day ’round the corner, there’ll be plenty of couples out there this weekend. But hearts aren’t just for couples. In honor of all the people you love – big, small, young, or old – we’re highlighting our favorite party slash date idea.

It’s ideal for all the parties throughout the year AND it’s perfect for date night with your person… 

(Speaking of which, there’s an awesome giveaway at the end of this post!)

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The Perfect Cheese Platter.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate a beautiful cheese platter. We break out cheese platters for casual and formal parties anytime of the year, which people quickly gravitate to. We also crave a good cheese board on date nights, just the 2 of us.

Just the 2 of us, we can make it if we try…just the 2 of us, you and I.

Stop it, Will Smith, just stop it now.

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So, about that funny marriage list earlier? Yeah, Hubby and I can probably relate to them all.

But if there’s 1 single thing that’s helped us keep our marriage fun, it’s this: date nights. Or days. Doesn’t matter if we meet downtown for coffee, don hockey skates, or do a jazzy candlelit dinner at home.

It’s helped us keep our identity as a couple rather than just roomies that divvy up allthetasks.

There’s lots of tasks with 3 young boys and a bulldog.

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Our favorite thing to serve for parties and date nights is throwing together the perfect cheese platter.

A plethora of ideas live on the internet, but here are our favorite secrets for the Perfect Cheese Platter. Since we’re theming on lists, let’s do it list-style. Plus, I’m kind of a list freak.

12 Tips to the Perfect Cheese Platter:

  1. Balance the flavors, from strong to mild cheeses (i.e. blue or havarti)
  2. Balance the textures from soft to hard cheeses (i.e., brie to parmigiano)
  3. If either #1 or #2 above cause a big question mark, chat with your neighborhood cheese specialist and let them help you figure out what to include.
  4. Separate knives or serving tools for strong vs. mild cheeses is a good idea. You can even pre-slice some of the cheeses for ease.
  5. Have a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of goodies. This includes your cheeses (white brie wheel vs. yellow cheddar wedge)
  6.  Room temperature! Rest your cheeses at room temp 30-60 minutes before serving (unless it’s summer in Texas and you don’t have AC, which is a whole other issue.)
  7. Other chews besides the cheese. Think fruits, nuts, and seeds. We love dried fruits (i.e., figs) with fresh fruits (grapes.) A mixture of salty and sweet nuts are always popular.
  8. Meat choices for the men. Or women. Whoever. Point is, many people enjoy salami, prosciutto, bresaola, or my own unique favorite: smoked salmon. YUM.
  9. Carbs. Don’t forget the crackers, bread, and toasts. Keep it simple; no chipotle-garlic flavored crackers, please.
  10. What’s your jam? Add some sweet fruit jam or honey to the mix. People love spooning it over their cheese and crackers.
  11. Spread out the spread. You can have 2 or 3 plates going at the same time, if it’s a larger party. Avoid the platter gridlock.
  12. Label the cheeses with a toothpick and sticker label. I didn’t here, but when there’s a larger variety of cheeses on my platter, labeling helps.

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Oh, wait. Did I say “12 Tips?” I meant 13.

#13: Include a nice bottle of wine. Because we all know wine and cheese is that couple that’s been married for years.

We really liked a deep, fruity zinfandel with the particular cheeses we served. It pairs stunningly with creamy blue cheese, aged havarti, and cured meats.

Now. Go have some FUN and create your own perfect cheese platter.
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You didn’t think I’d leave you without an actual recipe?

Here’s the easy (highly addictive) recipe for the chocolate cocoa almonds shown above.

They are ultra crunchy, lightly sweet, fully chocolatey, and all natural. Perfect for anytime snacking and party app-ing.

Chocolate Cocoa Almonds and How to Build a Cheese Platter

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You're getting a twofer today, with this special doubly delish post today. We're showing you the easiest, most natural way to make Chocolate Cocoa Almonds and How to Build a Cheese Platter that will be the hit of any party.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 2 1/2 cups


  • 2 ½ cups raw, unsalted whole almonds
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 TB unsweetened real cocoa powder
  • tsp fine table salt, plus more as desired


  • Preheat oven to 350F, with rack on middle position. Spread raw almonds into a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (unlined.) Bake 10 minutes, stopping once to shake the pan in between bake time. Almonds should be toasty and fragrant, but not burnt. Pour toasted almonds into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir to completely coat. Spread coated almonds back out onto baking sheet to cool completely.
  • Store chocolate cocoa almonds in airtight container up to several weeks.
Course: appetizers, snacks

Did you make this?

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