WHAT IS TALEGGIO?
This washed rind, cow’s milk cheese is one of the more intimidating dairy delicacies for newbies. While it was invented thousands of years ago, the method of production hasn’t changed that much. The skin of this formaggio is washed in a salt brine. Then, like with Muenster, it is smeared with bacteria (to encourage further ripening). This gives the cheese an orange stained exterior similar to an Epoisse Berthaut. However the thinness of the rind belies the pungency of this velvety classic.
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WHERE IS TALEGGIO MADE?
This P.D.O. cheese is made in Lombardy in the valley of Val Taleggio. An alpine gorge, it is famous for its’ production of delicious cow’s milk cheeses and stunning scenery.
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Many, many cheese experts have described the ripening of cheese as the controlled spoilage of milk. And the air of ammonia washed rinds give off doesn’t inspire much confidence to the uninitiated. But in addition to its’ use as a table cheese, Taleggio is a tasty secret melting ingredient. So it is a great addition to most fondue recipes or use as the base for a nice roux. Even on top of a burger, this formaggio can stand up to the raw onions and other flavors fighting for attention.
WHAT CAN I PAIR WITH TALEGGIO?
Lambic and white beers, and wines like Cabertnet Sauvignons, Merlots and Pinots can work. But for cheese flights avoid other very pungent cheeses. A nice Cheddar, Comte or Idiazabal can round out a cow’s milk theme. Moreover for a cheese tour of Italy, look to a creamy burrata and a provolone picante for some cow’s milk contrast.