Piece of Italian Taleggio and a slice on a cutting board close up

Taleggio Cheese: A Delicious Italian Delicacy

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Taleggio cheese is a type of semi-soft Italian cheese that has been produced in the Lombardy region of Italy since the 10th century. This cheese is known for its unique flavor and aroma, which have made it a favorite among cheese lovers around the world. In this article, we will explore 14 interesting facts about Taleggio cheese that will help you appreciate this delicious Italian delicacy even more.

Introduction

Taleggio cheese is a semi-soft Italian cheese that is named after the Val Taleggio, a valley in the Lombardy region of Italy. This cheese is made from cow’s milk and has a distinctive smell and taste that is reminiscent of mushrooms and fruits. Taleggio cheese is often used in cooking, but it is also delicious when eaten on its own or with bread and fruit.

History of Taleggio Cheese

Taleggio Cheese And Polenta Rounds
Taleggio Cheese And Polenta Rounds
  1. Taleggio cheese has been produced in the Lombardy region of Italy since the 10th century.
  2. The cheese was originally made by monks in the Val Taleggio valley.
  3. Taleggio cheese was traditionally aged in caves, which helped to give it its unique flavor and aroma.
  4. In the 19th century, Taleggio cheese became popular in Milan, where it was sold in markets and used in cooking.
  5. Today, Taleggio cheese is produced in both the Lombardy and Piedmont regions of Italy.

How Taleggio Cheese is Made

  1. Taleggio cheese is made from raw or pasteurized cow’s milk.
  2. The milk is heated to a temperature of 35-37°C (95-98.6°F) and then rennet is added to curdle the milk.
  3. The curds are cut into small pieces and then placed in molds to drain the whey.
  4. The cheese is then salted and left to age for 6-10 weeks in a humid environment.
  5. During the aging process, the cheese is turned and washed with a brine solution to prevent mold growth.

Flavor and Texture of Taleggio Cheese

  1. Taleggio cheese has a unique flavor that is both tangy and fruity, with a subtle mushroom-like aroma.
  2. The cheese has a soft and creamy texture that becomes runnier as it ages.
  3. The rind of Taleggio cheese is thin and edible, but it has a stronger flavor than the interior of the cheese.
  4. Taleggio cheese pairs well with fruits such as pears and grapes, as well as with bread and crackers.

Cooking with Taleggio Cheese

Taleggio cheese is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some ideas for cooking with Taleggio cheese:

  • Use Taleggio cheese as a topping for pizza or focaccia.
  • Add Taleggio cheese to pasta dishes such as risotto or lasagna.
  • Melt Taleggio cheese over vegetables such as roasted squash or grilled asparagus.
  • Use Taleggio cheese in a cheese fondue.
  • Make a Taleggio cheese sauce to serve over meats such as chicken or steak.

Health Benefits of Taleggio Cheese

Taleggio cheese is a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamins A and B12. It also contains probiotics, which can help to support gut health. However, Taleggio cheese is also high in fat and sodium, so it should be consumed in moderation.

FAQ

What is Taleggio cheese?

Taleggio cheese is a semisoft, washed-rind, smear-ripened Italian cheese that originated in Val Taleggio. It has a thin crust, a strong aroma, and a mild flavor with a hint of fruitiness.

What is the history of Taleggio cheese?

Taleggio cheese has been around since Roman times and is mentioned in the writings of ancient figures like Cicero, Cato the Elder, and Pliny the Elder. Originally produced only in Val Taleggio, production later expanded to the Lombardy plain in the late 1800s.

How is Taleggio cheese made?

The production of Taleggio cheese takes place during autumn and winter. Acidified milk is mixed with rennet from milk calves. The cheese is then aged for six to ten weeks on wood shelves in chambers or caves. It is washed weekly with a seawater sponge to prevent mold growth and develop an orange or rose-colored crust. Presently, Taleggio cheese is made from both pasteurized and raw milk in factories, with factory-made cheeses having a brighter appearance and a milder flavor.

Conclusion

Taleggio cheese is a delicious Italian delicacy that has a rich history and a unique flavor and aroma. Whether you enjoy it on its own or use it in cooking, Taleggio cheese is sure to delight your taste buds. So the next time you’re at the cheese counter, be sure to give Taleggio cheese a try!


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