Nestled on the banks of the Chehalis River in southwest Washington, Willapa Hills Farm is a mix of lowland pastures and timbered hills. Amy and Stephen Hueffed first started dreaming of a lifestyle change during an inspiring trip through Northern California, where they sampled local cheeses and pondered one day producing their own. Fourteen years later in 2005, after taking Washington State University cheesemaking classes in Pullman and Skagit Valley, Amy and Stephen finally settled onto their farm with a flock of 60 dairy ewes.
Since then Willapa Hills, now home to three generations of the Hueffed family, has continuously revised and expanded its activities and product line. The diverse mix of sheep’s milk, cow’s milk and mixed-milk cheeses is produced with a long-term commitment to sustainability: economic, environmental, and social. For example, the farm has switched over to growing all of its own hay, lowering costs of overall feed and ensuring that hay is natural and free of pesticides and commercial fertilizers.
Two-Faced Blue, named for its combination of sheep and cow’s milks, was one of Willapa Hills’ first cheeses. After production, wheels are pierced at an age of about 4 days in order to allow air into the cheese and the development of the subtle blue veins that contribute to the maturing process and flavor of the cheese.
Two Faced Blue is matured for between 3-4 months. The interior of the cheese is ivory colored with a fairly open texture that is smooth and moist.
The subtly yellow paste of Two-Faced Blue cheese exhibits blue veins throughout, and while smell is initially strong, at first bite there’s nothing but a creamy, melt-in-the-mouth flavor. After a second a delayed rush of salt floods the tongue, and mineraly flavors fade into a pleasant, lingering sweetness. Unlike many other blues, there is no big spicy hit and this allows the more delicate flavors (earth, cellar and mushrooms) to present themselves.
Pair Two-Faced blue with a Port or a Madeira.