Named after the valley of its origin, Taleggio is tradition incarnate. Its coarse rind is edible, and stands in great contrast to the creamy interior. Together, they create a seamless blend of opposing sensations in terms of both flavor and consistency. The outcome is smooth, and slightly acidic.
Made from local cow’s milk, Taleggio uses five different types of mold to produce the red smear that gives it its unique look and flavor. Intense flavors are promoted in the thorough washing of the rind during the aging process, resulting in a strong aroma and a rich yet mellow taste. Soft tones of fruit play in tune with a composition of mild and buttery notes, finishing with a tangy aftertaste that lingers on your palate. Quick to mature, this cheese is ready to eat within 50 days of aging.
A process devoted to feel and intuition in every sense, the production of Taleggio still respects the traditional recipe.
Newly formed curd is separated twice to help it release excess whey. The curd is then poured over a table containing the signature square molds of Taleggio and left to sit until the remaining whey has been drained. Brined by hand, the cheeses are placed on seasoned wooden shelves to age, and are turned regularly to ensure that the salt is spread evenly. Over the next month, the cheese is washed rigorously with a special solution. This prevents an overgrowth of mold and encourages the fostering of good bacteria. After a minimum of 25 days spent aging, the Taleggio has achieved its desired state.
Depending on the type, Taleggio is made with either pasteurized or unpasteurized milk. No additives or fillers feature on the list of ingredients, making it gluten free. Those looking to avoid animal produce should note that the addition of animal rennet means that it is not vegetarian.
Washed rind cheeses all present unique traits of their own and substituting one for Taleggio can make for an equally satisfying experience.
The Italian classic, Fontina, shares the pungent aroma of the Taleggio. The flavors are stronger, and the body melts easily, making it great for warm dishes or fondue.
With similar uses, Gruyère is ideal for salads, cheese boards or melted into pasta and risotto. Presenting tones of hazelnut and browned butter, this cheese offers a different take on dishes intended for Taleggio.
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