Since Imbolc/Imbolg means "in the belly" and occurs around the time the pregnant ewes start lactating, sheep's milk is appropriate. Sheep's milk or goat's milk cheese (chevre) is a lovely, soft, slightly tangy cheese. Serve this cheese spread with some poppy seed or sesame seed crackers, as foods with those seeds are also appropriate for the Sabbat.
I love to make cheese spreads and it's fun to experiment with additions. This recipe was inspired by a Williams-Sonoma recipe for a fig and goat cheese tart.
8 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup finely chopped dried figs (or figs and dates)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts or pecans
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1 tablespoon honey
Combine the softened cheeses in a bowl and blend together with a hand mixer (easy) or wood spoon. Add the honey to lightly sweeten, if desired. Blend in the thyme, salt and pepper and dried fruit.
Lightly moisten your hands and form the mixture into a ball, oval shape, or log. Roll it in the chopped nuts, wrap in plastic wrap, and park it in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving.
**You can substitute other dried fruits for the figs if you wish. If you choose to use something else, such as cranberries or cherries, omit the thyme.
Serves 12. Per serving: