Well, the holiday season is over, but there's plenty of winter parties left. There are still lots of opportunities to indulge that cheese ball craving!
Cream cheese is often used as a base for cheese spreads because it's cheap, smooth, and easy to blend, and it has a relatively mild taste that will allow other flavors to shine out. If, however, you're looking for a more distinct cheese flavor, you should look for cheeses with a similar consistency to cream cheese. They need to be soft and able to be blended easily.
I would suggest trying goat cheese or a very soft blue cheese. You can browse through the the Cheesemonger's posts to find other suggestions for good soft cheeses.
When you've found a soft cheese with a good flavor, blend it with herbs, nuts, roasted garlic, or other ingredients until you get the taste you want. Depending on the pungency of the cheese you may also want to still cut in a little cream cheese.
I'll post a recipe a little later today for one of my favorite cheese spreads! In the meantime, does anyone else have favorite recipes for Sparky?