I recently got hip to a great cream-cheese alternative for bagels and such and was thinking it'd be a nice time to pass on the tip given what a brunch-y time of year this is between Christmas and New Year's and all the other excuses for gathering and eating.
Spreadable goat cheese is a lower-fat form of goat cheese with a looser texture as compared to the chèvre usually sold in log form and usually comes in a tub so it even looks like cream cheese. I love the tangy bite of goat's milk, especially paired with something sweet like jam or honey.
Aside from slathering it on bagels, this kind of goat cheese would be a wonderful replacement for ricotta cheese in dessert recipes, or even in lasagna. I've been meaning to make a goat's milk cheese cake and would try a spreadable (or in this case, more mixable) chèe like this.
Cream Cheese, by order of the US Department of Agriculture, has at least 33% butterfat. A spreadable goat cheese has on average about half that.
Two nice brands of spreadable goat cheese I've come across are Fromagerie Belle Chèvre's Fromage Blanc (a confusing name as fromage blanc is usually a cow's milk cheese), and Vermont Butter & Cheese company's Creamy Goat Cheese.
• Fromagerie Belle Chèvre
• Vermont Butter & Cheese
(Bagel-in-hand image from flickr member mindcircus licensed for use under Creative Commons)