Taleggio is a whole cow's milk cheese from the Val Taleggio in the Italian Alps in the Valtaleggio region near Lombardy. One of the oldest soft ripening cheeses, this 9 inch square gray cave-aged delight originated the 9th century. Stracchino is another name for Taleggio and that name refers to the fatigue endured by the cows as they trek up and down mountains to feed on the right vegetation to produce the cheese.
While the vegetation fed on by the cows is critical to the flavor of this cheese, aging is also important. Typically Taleggio is aged up to 48 days during which the cheese is washed either with a bacteria solution or as originally done, smeared with an older cheese to facilitate the transfer of bacteria to affect the gray mold exterior. Taleggio shares this "smear ripening" technique with Muenster and Port Salut. The smear ripening gives the cheese a stronger flavor while its cave aging gives it an earthiness.
Taleggio typically has a strong aroma, mild flavor, and unusual fruitiness at the finish. It has a moist, melt-in-your-mouth feel and spreads easily on crusty bread. It serves well with green salads or as a dessert, or may mix with spices, raisins, nuts, or lemon.
Wine pairings include most any Italian Nebbiolo, Soave, or other light dry or off-dry Italian white. At one tasting at the store an Italian Lagrein was being offered and coming from the same general region as Taleggio, it paired quite well with the Tallegio on hand.
Mention this blog and get a 20% discount off the $19.99# Taleggio retail this week.
On Saturday November 12th at 2pm (subject to change if football interferes), Jon Allen of Georgia Crown Distributing will be here tasting out seasonally appropriate reds and whites. Jon is a Cordon Bleu educated chef so be here and pick his brain for holiday culinary know how.