TALEGGIO CHEESE | LOMBARDY
Taleggio is a semi-soft, washed rind, smear-ripened Italian cheese that is named after Val Taleggio. The cheese has a thin crust and a strong aroma, but its flavor is comparatively mild with an unusual fruity tang. Taleggio and similar cheeses have been around since Roman times, with Cicero, Cato the Elder, and Pliny the Elder all mentioning it in their writings. The cheese was solely produced in the Val Taleggio until the late 1800s, when some production moved to the Lombardy plain to the south.
The production takes place every autumn and winter when the cows are tired from a summer of grazing. First, the acidified milk is brought to the processing center from milk calves as per tradition that will mature within six to ten weeks. After the cheese is made it is set on wood shelves in chambers and washed once a week with a seawater sponge in order to prevent mold infestation and to prevent the cheese from forming an orange or rose crust. Today, the cheese is made from both pasteurized milk and from raw milk in factories. The factory-made cheeses are brighter and moderate in flavor. Spices, raisins, nuts and some lemons are also added.
The cheese can be eaten grated with salads such as radicchio or rucola and with spices and tomato on bruschetta. It melts well, and can be used in risotto or on polenta.