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Cheese Spotlight: Taleggio

Taleggio
Taleggio

Taleggio

Taleggio is a washed-rind, cow’s milk cheese produced primarily in a high mountain valley in Northern Italy.

What is a washed rind cheese you ask?  Well, it’s a cheese that’s rind has been washed J  Typically that means a weekly brushing of it with salt brine, wine, beer, brandy, cider, you name it.  The washing promotes the grown of the brevibacterial linens or b-linens bacteria on the rind.

That yummy bacteria (yes, there is such a thing as yummy bacteria) gives the rind an orange color and a pungent smell. That’s how you tell a washed rind cheese.  While these are the stinkiest cheeses by far, for the most part, they smell way stronger than they taste.

This particular washed rind cheese come from an area known as Val Taleggio (thus the name).  It’s a  remote, agricultural area where old traditions exist because the area was difficult to access.

The cheese has been around since Roman times, with Cicero, Cato the Elder, and Pliny the Elder all mentioning it in their writings.  The terrific thing about this cheese is that it’s still made pretty much the same way it was hundreds of years ago.

The process and skills have been passed down through the generations. It’s made with milk from cows who graze on high altitude pasture (that’s where the wildflowers bloom and add flavor to the milk), and it’s washed with seawater once a week.

SIDE NOTE: This cheese is AWESOME on pizza!

Want to try  Taleggio in other recipes?  Here are some suggestions: