January 2022 Cave to Co-op: Pawlet from West Pawlet, VT

Our Cave to Co-op for January 2022 is PAWLET from Consider Bardwell Farm, West Pawlet, Vermont.

Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, Vermont is a producer of award-winning handmade cheese. Spanning the rolling hills of Vermont’s Champlain Valley and easternmost Washington County, New York, 300-acre Consider Bardwell Farm was the first cheesemaking co-op in Vermont, founded in 1864 by Consider Stebbins Bardwell himself.

In the late 1860s, the farm changed hands. The Nelsonville Cheese Factory purchased the property, where they continued the same service that Bardwell had started until the late 1930s, when the Great Depression brought it all crashing down.

A century later, Angela Miller and Russell Glover, with the help of cheesemaker Peter Dixon, revitalized the tradition of cheesemaking on the farm. After years of both accolades ad changes – today’s lineup of cheeses is made using the milk from neighboring Indian River Farm to craft cheeses that are both friendly enough for everyone but nuanced enough for the discerning palate.

Consider Bardwell Farm’s mission is to produce world-class cheese in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. In order to meet the sustainability aims, they focus on community, conservation, and farmland. From partnering with local farms to conserving acres of grassland and excellent treatment of their cows, Consider Bardwell Farm works to fulfill their mission and produce cheeses for us to savor.

Pawlet is an Italian-style mountain toma, and it is aged four to six months. Flavors are mild, buttery, and rounded, with hints of flowers, grass, and savory herbal notes. A creamy texture and bright bite make this a great sandwich cheese or an appetizer with broad appeal. It is a versatile cheese, like the town of Pawlet itself, which provides the farm with slate, syrup, and timber.






Twice Baked Potatoes with Pawlet & Fennel

Serves 4

Preheat oven to 425°F


4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
1 medium fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, cored and cut into ½” pieces
3 T dry white wine
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ lb Pawlet cheese
⅔ cup whole milk
1 T unsalted butter, softened
1 small garlic clove, minced


1. Bake the potatoes directly on the upper rack of the oven for 40 minutes, or until tender.

2. Spread the fennel wedges in a shallow glass baking dish and drizzle with the wine and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the bottom third of the oven for 40 minutes, or until the fennel is tender and golden brown on the bottom. Let cool slightly, then chop.

3. Cut 8 slices from the Pawlet and cube the remaining cheese.

4. Heat the milk in a small pan, add the cubed cheese and stir until melted.

5. Halve the warm baked potatoes lengthwise. Scoop out the inside of the potatoes into a bowl to within ¼” of the skins.

6. Using a masher or a large fork, coarsely mash the potatoes with the butter. Pour in the hot milk mixture, add the garlic and mash the potatoes until smooth and fluffy. Stir in the chopped roasted fennel. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Spoon the stuffing into the potato skins and transfer to a baking sheet. Top each potato half with a slice of the remaining cheese. Bake the potatoes in the upper third of the oven for 12 minutes, until they are hot throughout and the cheese is melted. Cool slightly and serve.

Creamy Polenta with Pawlet

Serves 6


4 cups of milk
2 cups of water
1½ tsp salt
2 cups of instant polenta
2 T unsalted butter
4 oz grated Pawlet cheese
extra grated Pawlet for serving


1. Bring the milk and water to a rolling boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the salt and gradually pour in the polenta, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the polenta thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and cheese. Serve with a bowl of extra grated Pawlet at the table.

This polenta can also be poured into a buttered pan and cooled until solid. When cool, remove from pan and slice as desired. Sauté the slices of polenta in butter until crisp and golden. Serve with a simple tomato sauce and extra cheese.