SEPTEMBER 2023 Cave to Co-op: Hermit from Parish Hill Creamery, Westminster West, VT

Our Cave to Co-op for September 2023 is Hermit, a raw cow-milk, beer-washed rind cheese from Parish Hill Creamery, Westminster West, Vermont.

Parish Hill Creamery produces seasonal, hand-made, raw milk cheeses inspired by the traditional cheeses of Italy. Peter Dixon brings over 30 years of cheesemaking experience, and he is joined by his wife Rachel Schaal, and sister Alex Schaal. 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, simply, as near to home as possible, and with the highest quality ingredients and results as can be had.

Parish Hill gets 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 4 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.

Hermit is a larger format, beer-washed Tomme. Rowdy Monk ale, used as the rind wash, is a barrel-aged sour brown quadruple ale, fermented with mixed culture and aged in red wine barrels and scotch barrels for 12-18 months until tart and very dry by the folks at Hermit Thrush Brewery in Brattleboro, Vermont. Hermit’s large format wheels are aged at least three months resulting in a Tomme style cheese with a rustic, natural rind.

Baked Hermit


1.5 lbs Hermit, rind removed, and 1-inch-diced
1⁄4 cup good olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 T minced fresh
thyme leaves
1 tsp minced fresh
rosemary leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black
1 crusty French baguette


1.Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat.

2.Distribute the cubes of Hermit evenly in a 12″ cast-iron pan. Drizzle on the olive oil. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and olive oil.

3.Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.

4.Serve family-style—right out of the oven in the pan with crusty chunks of bread.