Taleggio refers to an Italian cheese variety from Valtaleggio region, located near Lombardy, where the cheese is semi soft in nature and has a washed rind. This Italian cheese has a very gentle flavor, characterized with strong aroma and distinct fruity tones. The cheese is highly moist in nature and smells very pleasant, where the quality features of the cheese help in enhancing the deliciousness of the dish with which it is used.
History of Taleggio Cheese
Taleggio is considered to be a very old form of cheese where it had been first mentioned even before tenth century in Valtaleggio caves. At that point of time, the cheese was produced in winter and autumn seasons when the cows used to be tired.
Production of Taleggio Cheese
In earlier times, the Italian cheese from Valtaleggio region was produced from the milk of calves where acidified milk was brought in the lab and set on wooden shelves in caves or in chambers and allowed to mature for a maximum of ten weeks, with minimum aging period being six weeks. The cheese was washed every week with sea water sponge for preventing the formation of mould and inhibiting the crust to turn into rose or orange color.
However, these days, this Italian cheese, Taleggio, is prepared in factories from cow’s pasteurized and raw milk, where the factory produced cheese is considered to be moderately flavored and brighter as compared to the ones produced in caves and chambers in ancient times. Nuts, raisins, lemons, and spices are added to enhance the flavor of the cheese.
Uses of Taleggio Cheese
- The Italian cheese Taleggio goes very well along with Nebbiolo wines, of Italian origin. Also, the cheese pairs nicely with various other white and red wines.
- The cheese is also used as a spread on crusty fresh bread where the sharp aroma, soft texture, and mild flavors of the cheese assist in augmenting the taste of the bread.
- The good melting quality of the cheese makes it a perfect combination with Italian dishes like polenta (one of the popular comfort foods of Italy made up of boiled cornmeal) and risotto (cooked rice in fish based, vegetables based or meat based broth).
- This Italian cheese is also widely used along with tomatoes and spices as one of the ingredients for topping the bruschetta dish (garlic rubbed grilled bread).
- Furthermore, the Italian cheese, Taleggio, is extensively used in Italian salads like rucola and radicchio in shredded form, where rucola salad is made up of rucola, tomatoes, and vinaigrette (a mix of oil, salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar) and radicchio salad refers to a bitter salad made up of radicchio, pecans, red onions, and salty and sweet dressing of honey, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and olive oil.