December 2020 Cave to Co-op: West West Blue from Westminster West, VT

Our Cave to Co-op for December 2020 is West West Blue—a raw cow-milk creamy textured cheese with a natural rind—from Parish Hill Creamery, Westminster West, Vermont.

Parish Hill Creamery produces seasonal, handmade, raw milk cheeses inspired by Italy’s traditional cheeses. Peter Dixon brings over 30 years of cheesemaking experience, and he is joined by his wife Rachel Schaal and sister Alex Schall. The creamery is the culmination of Peter’s years making cheese, teaching classes, solving problems, and imagining possibilities. Peter, Rachel, and Alex love making cheese. They make cheese traditionally, as near to home as possible, and with the highest quality ingredients and results as can be had.

Parish Hill gets beautiful milk from Elm Lea Farm at the Putney School, just up the road from the creamery, and the milk is the result of healthy animals grazing lush pastures. Protein and fat are balanced ideally for the cheeses produced, and the cheese changes subtly throughout the season, reflecting the growth and maturation of various pasture plants.

Their starter cultures are made from the milk of four individual cows. Helga, Abigail, Clothilda, and Sonia were chosen for their health, their components, and their disposition. As a result, Parish Hill makes mother cultures that are truly an articulation of their milk, and the resulting cheese is a revelation of that milk, the cows, the pastures, the water, and the land.

West West Blue is a traditional, two-curd Gorgonzola made with whole, raw milk from Elm Lea Farm. The cheese is made in a multi-stage process, with curds held overnight mixed with warm, fresh curds the next day. The colder curds have a higher acidity, a very conducive space for the blue mold to grow. The edible rind surrounds a dense paste with streaks of blue mold, a creamy texture, and a spicy, earthy flavor.

Sophia Loren’s Pasta

Serves 6


½ lb West West Blue
2 T unsalted butter
1 small stalk celery, roughly chopped
½ onion, roughly chopped
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 hard-boiled egg yolk (optional)
handful of finely minced Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1½ lbs dry pasta of your choice


1. Place cheese, butter, celery, onion, garlic, and a pinch of pepper in a blender or the work bowl of a food processor. Process to a smooth paste; when the mixture is well blended, add the cream, milk and egg yolk; add the parsley and salt to taste. Blend until the sauce is very smooth.
2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until just al dente, then toss it with the sauce

Blue Cheese, Spinach & Walnut Stuffed Chicken

Serves 4


8 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed
4 chicken breast fillets
⅛ cup walnut halves, toasted
⅓ cups West West Blue, crumbled
1 T olive oil


1. Use your hands to squeeze out as much excess liquid from the spinach as possible. Place in a small bowl. Use a small, sharp knife to cut a small pocket in the side of each chicken breast (do not cut all the way through). Coarsely chop one-quarter of the walnuts. Place the spinach, chopped walnuts and ¼ of the West West Blue in each pocket. Use a toothpick to enclose and secure filling.

2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until golden brown and just cooked through. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil; set aside for 5 minutes to rest.