Soft and dippable, bark-wrapped cheeses are always an excellent choice for holiday entertaining. Spruce bark imparts a rich earthy flavor on the cheese, while giving delicate wheels extra support so they can age longer and become even softer. Bark wrapped cheeses have long been synonymous with the holiday season because they are often made with the fattier Autumn milk that comes when animals switch from pasture to hay.
FireFly Farms Merry Goat Spruce Reserve is a tangy and rich goat’s milk bloomy rind wrapped in spruce cambium strapping. After making the original brie-style Merry Goat Round for 15 years, FireFly Farms decided to try aging the wheel in a bark wrap to allow the cheese to develop a stronger flavor and age for longer. The result is a complex cheese with flavor notes of mushroom and spruce wood, and a silky texture perfect for dipping or scooping.
The easiest way to serve this style of cheese is to slice off the top and scoop it out of the wheel, plus this makes for a pretty striking centerpiece on a cheeseboard. We recommend diving straight in with crunchy potato chips. The salty crunch of chips is a perfect foil for the creamy texture and umami flavors of Merry Goat Round Spruce Reserve.
For an easy beverage pairing, Jessie Galdston, general manager of FireFly Farms outpost in Whitehall Mill in Baltimore, Maryland, suggests a sparkling wine. “I would always say, when in doubt, if you don’t know what you’re eating ahead of time, if you don’t know what the vibe is going to be…always go sparkling wine.”