Taleggio is a semi-soft iconic Italian softie - a leader in the pungent washed rind family, named after the caves of Val Taleggio. It’s one of the oldest soft cow’s milk cheeses produced in every autumn and winter.
The softest, creamiest member of the famous Italian Stracchino cheeses. The combination of rough, rosy crust, pale yellow interior, rich, buttery, fruity, slightly salty flavor, all give Taleggio a wonderfully unique flavor.
Taleggio's soft, incredibly flavorful interior is creamy in texture and has a pungent aroma.
Despite the cheese having a strong smell, its taste is relatively mild with an unusual bright, fruity tang due to the spices, raisins, nuts and lemons added during its creation.
If you enjoy the flavor the rind imparts, eat as much as you like. Skip the rind on a Taleggio, the gateway cheese to stinky cheeses, and you'll miss the whole point of washed rinds.
Just serving with crusty bread and the cheese imparts the essence of the Italian countryside. You may swear you were sitting among the cows on a grassy hillside in Lombardy.
Perfect melted into polenta or when, grated on salads such as Radicchio and Rucola, it tastes wonderful.
BackgroundTaleggio and similar cheeses have been around since Roman times, with Cicero, Cato the Elder, and Pliny the Elder all mentioning it in their writings.
Taleggio was first made in the valley of the same name, located in the historic province of Bergamo. Taleggio made its debut in the international cheese markets after World War I.
During cheese making, the acidic milk is brought to the lab and kept on the wood shelves in the chambers as well in caves according to tradition. In order to prevent it from mold infestation, the cheese is washed with seawater once a week. The maturation takes 6 - 10 weeks forming a thin crust.
"Washed rind” is a way to describe cheeses that have their exteriors washed with mildly salted water to help attract bacteria essential for developing the moist rinds with their distinctive reddish color and wonderful pungent smell.
High moisture content washed rind cheese like Taleggio get broken down by the bacteria with age and become creamier over time. When they are perfectly ripe, the soft interior will actually ooze but remember they also get “slinkier” with that oozing.
Taleggio comes to us from the Lombardy region of Italy, as do the various types of Gorgonzola. All are “stracchino,” a generic term for those Lombardy cheeses that are made in the autumn and winter from the milk of cows that come down from their summer alpine pastures to be wintered on the plains. The milk of these ‘tired’ cows is complex, due to the change of grazing. The resultant flavor of the cheese is quite distinctive.
dating back to the tenth century. Since then it has been hand made in the same way…milling the curd to hazelnut size, salting the cheese by hand and then brushing the outside with brine weekly. During cheese making, the acidic milk is kept on the wood shelves in caves according to tradition.
In order to prevent it from mold infestation, the cheese is washed with seawater once a week to foster a sticky, orange edible rind while air pumped from the original caves causes a dappling of soft and earthy tasting grey mold. Maturation takes 6 - 10 weeks forming a thin crust.
This brine-brushing encourages the development of the micro-organisms that confer the characteristic pinkish color to the rind and the visible crème line to the paste. Taleggio is therefore a washed rind cheese and like most washed-rind cheeses, it “pouts” giving the ripe wheels a pudding texture. Taleggio has a characteristic yeasty aroma and a sweet aromatic flavor.
All our cheeses are provided in 8-ounce cuts at a standard price making your selection easy and economical. Currently available cheeses are listed in our on-line Gourmet Cheese Shop and the selections are revised seasonally.
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