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Turnbulls Guide To Cheese: Taleggio

The Cheese

Your cheese is a semi-soft washed rind cheese from north Italy called Taleggio.

BodyElastic and fatty becoming a soft paste in the mouth, firmer rind.
Primary TastesSavoury and salty, with supporting creamy sweetness. No notable acidity and less bitterness
Dairy flavoursMilk, cream, butter
Added flavoursWashed rind: Meaty, earthy, mushroom, vegetal
Aging flavoursOlder crusty cheeses: pronounced umami, mushroom, and yeastiness; diminished sweetness; barnyard or farmyard aromas

Taleggio cheese is a semi-soft, wash rinded Italian cheese with a strong aroma and a creamy, tangy flavour from the Lombardy region of Northern Italy.

It’s first incarnation was created by monks in the Val Taleggio, a picturesque valley in the Bergamo Alps, seeking a way to preserve surplus milk, Cheesemaking in Lombardy region of Italy dates back to Roman times. By the 12 century the cheese of Taleggio appear in public records.

Taleggio is a cheese for the cheeseboard but it also melts quickly and pungently, making it a popular inclusion in risottos and on pizzas.

In 1996, Taleggio cheese received PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status from the European Union, which means that only cheese produced in specific areas of Lombardy and a few surrounding regions can be legally labelled as “Taleggio.”

Traditional Taleggio cheese is made from cow’s milk. Curd matures over several weeks, during which it is regularly washed with brine to encourage the growth of bacteria and moulds that give it its characteristic pink-orange rind, texture, flavour and aroma.

The cheese is typically

  • Shape: 6 to 7 inches (15 to 18 cm) square and 1.5 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm) thick
  • Weight: from 1.5 to 2.5 pounds (700 grams to 1.2 kilograms)
  • Rind: orange to pink in colour, the rind is sticky when young, harder like a bark when older. The cheese may develop blue (P. roqueforti) flecks across the rind as it ages. The producer’s sigil will be imprinted on the top.

Today, Taleggio cheese is not only a beloved cheese variety in Italy but is also enjoyed by cheese enthusiasts worldwide. Its unique characteristics and rich history make it a symbol of Italian cheese-making heritage.

Cheese tasting notes:

Body and Texture: Taleggio is semi-soft, often described as buttery and supple with a slightly sticky or tacky feel. The rind is sticky and slightly leathery when young, and rough and slightly mouldy when aged.

Tastes: Taleggio is known for its pronounced savoury umami flavours, with often a rich meaty quality. It is moderately salty, has a subtle sweetness and mild acidity.

Dairy Flavours: distinct milky, buttery and creamy, lactic at the edges.

Other Flavours:

  • Mushroom: earthy and mushroom-like notes.
  • Yeastiness: the rind imparts a yeasty or mouldy aroma and flavour
  • Vegetal: Occasional vegetal notes, including garlic

Flavours Arising from Aging: flavours become more pronounced: umami, mushroom, and yeastiness intensify, while the sweetness may diminish. Barnyard or farmyard aromas and flavours may develop, making the cheese appear more rustic

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