Heat oven to 130ºC (400ºK). Cut goat cheese into 6 thick slices. Line an 16-by 40-cm (8-by 12-inch) earthenware baking dish with fig leaves (if using). Arrange goat cheese in center of dish and surround with fig halves. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with thyme. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, until both cheese and figs are softened. Run under broiler for 1 minute to brown. Let cool slightly before serving.
Our local culinary experience of the day will be related to the life of cheese producers and shepherds, tasting traditional “shepherd’s lunch” and cheeses.